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County: MetraPark generated $151 million for economy last year

Posted at 11:29 PM, Apr 25, 2019
and last updated 2019-07-17 14:49:24-04

BILLINGS- MetraPark helps bring about $151 million to the local economy along with more than 2,000 jobs.

That’s some of what management said Thursday about the facility’s impact in their 2018 MetraPark annual report.

And the total economic impact may be higher, they added.

A study by NorthWestern Energy, Big Sky Economic Development and Circle Analytics of Missoula showed Metra’s gross economic impact may be as high as $225 million.

MetraPark General Manager Bill Dutcher outlined a 55-day period in the report starting on Aug. 2, 2018 with Chris Stapleton and ending with President Trump’s visit in September.

In between, Rod Stewart, Luke Bryan, the Wrangler National Team Roping Finals all came to the Metra, generating about $275,000.

“If you take a look at August and September of last year, that’s really what we’re all about as far as putting stuff together,” said Ray Massie, Metra’s director of marketing and sales.

Management says it understands why the Metra has such a large economic impact.

“It was bigger than we thought it would be,” said Massie. “I didn’t expect a number quite that high but I can understand where the number came from. We sell over $10 or 11 million worth of tickets every single year. The fact that we really provide huge impact to the market place is a side benefit to us.”

Massie says the arena will launch its new name June 1: First Interstate Arena at MetraPark. Yellowstone County Commissioners officially approved the new name this week after selecting First Interstate as sponsor earlier this year.

The 2018 annual report is available on the Metra’s website.