SXSW 2019 reports higher economic impact for Austin in 2019

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AUSTIN (KXAN) — The South by Southwest festival increased its economic impact to the City of Austin to $355.9 million in 2019, according to an analysis by Greyhill Advisors and South by Southwest.

Economic impacts from the festival included:

  • Attendance Impact: $182.1 million – Official attendance impact includes expenditures by SXSW credentialed participants and single ticket holders at all SXSW events. 
  • Operational Impact: $157.1 million – The scale and complexity of SXSW requires year-round operations. SXSW maintains a sizable staff of full-time, temporary, and seasonal workers. 
  • Consumer Impact: $16.7 million – Consumer impact includes expenditures by SXSW Guest Pass and consumer participants as well as official parties.

The amount of money Austin has made from SXSW 2019 follows a pattern of increasing revenue for the city. In 2018, Austin made just over $350 million from hosting SXSW. More than $348 million was made for the city in 2017 and $325 million in 2016.

While hosting the festival gave Austin a boost in revenue this year, it came with difficulties for some patrons and volunteers. 2019 was the first year South by Southwest did not line up with the spring break schedules of UT Austin, Austin Community College, and AISD.

But the festival is also contributing to the city’s economy in other ways. This past summer SXSW opened its new headquarters in downtown Austin.

“SXSW has become the world’s fair of the future,” Mayor Steve Adler said. “The economic impact of SXSW is on par with hosting the Super Bowl every year and all participants benefit year-round.”

SXSW 2020 will be held on March 13th through the 22nd.

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