In 2013 SXSW brought $218.2 million into the City of Austin’s economy through its 14-day-long event and year-round operations. It’s an impressive number but even so it doesn’t fully capture the long-term value generated for Austin’s culture, world-wide image, or the broader year-round economic activity stimulated by SXSW over the past 27 years.
The economic impact study that generated this finding accounts for spending by SXSW’s visitors in local businesses but doesn’t begin to tell the story of the long-term development of retail, real estate and infrastructure improvements that are by-products of a robust event tourism economy. In addition, SXSW also produced an estimated $37.5 million of international media value for Austin as a brand -- a boon to the development of Austin’s cultural portrait throughout the world.
As part of SXSW’s Austin-born company culture we work with local vendors, companies, venues and individuals whenever possible. The windfall sales that many businesses rely on during SXSW bolster their bottom line year round and allows some to expand or improve.
A local economist once compared special events to rainstorms. For some events the economic impact is like a flash flood where valuable resources, in this case dollars spent, are washed downstream so quickly that the effect is minimal and sometimes even harmful. And sometimes so localized their effects are barely noticed.
But SXSW, he said, was like a steady rainfall that soaks into the soil and refills the water table. The money spent on housing, restaurants, business services, transportation, entertainment and elsewhere in Austin pools in the local economic ecosystems and helps the broader community to grow.
We’re proud to be part of the business eco-system that helps local service providers maintain year-round operations and allows individuals employed within these industries to thrive. To get back to the economist’s analogy, it’s a steady rain -- year-after-year -- that helps keep the city’s fiscal rivers running.
We hope you’ll read the report generated by Greyhill Advisors analysing the impact of SXSW 2013 on Austin’s economy and understand that SXSW is part of the neighborhood and our success is part of the success of the Austin community.
photo by Linda Park