ROT Rally moves to COTA in its 2021 return, begins Thursday


AUSTIN (KXAN) — After its cancelation in 2020, the Republic of Texas Motorcycle Rally returns to Austin on Thursday at a new home.

The event was previously held at the Travis County Expo Center, but since officials needed the center for the local COVID-19 response, ROT Rally organizers moved it to the Circuit of The Americas race track.

It’s the 26th ROT Rally, which began in 1995 and was held every year except 2020.

Organizers say RV passes purchased for the canceled rally last year will be honored this year, and those who rented RVs should follow the same procedure as last year but have the address changed to COTA’s address, 9201 Circuit of The Americas Boulevard.

Passes for the event are available on ROT Rally website. Tickets for the entire rally are $149 and one-day passes are $69. VIP passes are $249 for the entire weekend and $119 for one-day passes. There are also discounted passes for those who arrive at the rally on a motorcycle.

Expected economic impact

“It’s promising to see large events like the Republic of Texas Rally resuming in-person,” said Michele VanHyfte, Downtown Austin Alliance’s Vice President of Urban Design.

The Downtown Alliance didn’t organize the ROT Rally, but recently released a report on the State of Downtown

Despite the move, VanHyfte said she still expects an economic boost for Austin. Last year, 84% of downtown businesses reported losing 76% or more of their revenue, with tourism-dependent businesses like bars and restaurants hit hardest.

“We’ve seen that visitors who come for events like the Rally often spend time in downtown, take advantage of the restaurants and the shops and the businesses and the entertainment venues,” she said.

In the past, rally organizers have told KXAN their event brings in $100 million to the Austin-Travis County economy.

According to Visit Austin, the Austin-Round Rock region lost 41% of spending from visitors between 2019 and 2020.

“It’s so important for that extra spending to help support these businesses as they’re recovering from the pandemic,” VanHyfte said.

According to Downtown Austin Alliance, as of April 2021, weekend foot traffic on Congress Avenue was about 44,500. That’s up from the lowest point in 2020 when it saw just 7,000 people. But it’s not yet at 2019 levels, which saw about 76,000 on a weekend.

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