Political rally brings national attention to Knoxville📅November 19th, 2015, 10:44
The organization and realization this week of the Donald Trump for President rally brought nearly 10,000 people to the Knoxville Convention Center and was a massive undertaking due to the compressed timeline, security considerations and high level of public interest in the event.
Trump’s appearance Monday evening also garnered significant media coverage in East Tennessee and across the country. Local, regional and national media were reporting live from our facility beginning early Monday morning. Regardless of political affiliation, having a U.S. presidential candidate speak in Knoxville raises our city’s and the Convention Center’s visibility on a national platform, and we welcomed the attention and opportunity to showcase our facility and logistics capabilities.
Coverage of the Knoxville event appeared in The Washington Post and The New York Times and aired on national television and radio programs on NBC, CBS, ABC, MSNBC, Bloomberg, CNN, Fox News and more. In total, news coverage of Trump’s visit to Knoxville captured 8.5 million viewers on local, regional and national television.
With the U.S. Secret Service following the presidential candidate, our staff had to work closely with the Trump team to ensure that the facility was 100 percent safe for the candidate and our attendees. Every worker, volunteer, reporter and attendee was checked by Secret Service members before being allowed to enter the facility. The Knoxville Police Department, the Department of Homeland Security and Knoxville Fire Department were also involved in the security effort, and EMTs were located inside the facility to address any health issues.
The rally was an all-hands-on-deck event for the Knoxville Convention Center team. We had a little more than a week to put together the Trump visit. Every Convention Center team member from event managers and security personnel to administrative assistants were on the floor helping to answer questions from thousands of guests and to direct foot traffic.
Starting in the early afternoon, we had hundreds of people waiting in line outside of our facility. The steady stream of attendees lasted until well past the 7 p.m. start time of the rally.
Our 120,000-square-foot exhibit hall was packed and standing room only, so setup and flow were critical to the success of the event. A stage was set near a back wall of the Exhibit Hall allowing thousands of crowd members to gather in front and at the sides.
Our audiovisual contractor, M&M Productions USA, installed state-of-the-art speakers and special sound equipment suspended from the ceiling. A productions crew monitored the sound throughout the program to make sure every person could hear Trump when he spoke.
A visit from a presidential candidate is a significant event for our city and for the Knoxville Convention Center. We hope to welcome more political figures as Knoxville continues to grow in prominence on a national stage.