Casper, Wyoming — This two-week weekend was a big opportunity for high school athletes across the state. The basketball team set out to cap off a successful season with a state championship. But as big as it was for them, he has one group where the tournament could be an even bigger deal. It’s a local business.
When state basketball tournaments are held at the Casper and Ford Wyoming Centers, local hotels, restaurants, and more become popular.
“State wrestling, and later state basketball tournaments, are a distinct peak in terms of year-round tourism spending in the Casper area,” said Luke Gilliam, Visit Casper Business Development Manager.
A weekend of state wrestling championships and two basketball tournaments each bring about $3 million to the region, Gilliam said.
“From these tournaments, we expect $9 million to go into our community, which is really great,” he said.
Tournaments are one of the most important events of the year for local hotels.
Lenny Penton-Jones, general manager of Casper’s Ramkota Hotels, said: “We have 230 rooms, much larger than most other hotels in the city. …And we are completely full. So we are definitely busy.
“We count on these events and hopefully show them how much we appreciate them being here.”
Gilliam said positive experiences at Casper make people more likely to return in the future, so the value of hosting a statewide contest can’t be measured solely by how much money you make over the weekend. added.
In 2022, the 3A-4A State Basketball Tournament broke ticket sales records with over 5,000 tickets sold. Gilliam said he expects to see similar numbers this year.
“We did the research, so we know how important these things are,” said Penton-Jones. “They are important to Casper and our economy, and we rely on and rely on them.”