The Sonic (Economic) Boom that is SXSW

Scott Francis
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An article in the Austin Business Journal makes it clear what a huge impact SXSW has on Austin:

In all, SXSW drove $218.2 million into the Austin economy, according to an economic analysis of the event. That figure includes $88.3 million from the year-round operation of the company and event-specific expenditures and $129.9 million in local business support from attendees.


Speaking of attendees, that was a new record too. The event’s core events drew 41,700 registrants. The number of total participants, or people who attended at least one SXSW activity reached 155,000.

All I can say is “wow.”  Those numbers are huge for an economy the size of Austin.  $218M is a big way to move the dial.  And that under-estimates the impact.  Does anyone think Formula 1 would have come to Austin if it wasn’t the home of SXSW all these years?  Or that JW Marriott would be building a mammoth 1000+ room hotel without knowing that SXSW attendees would fill it for at least a week per year?  The impact has been nothing short of amazing, to me.

So, Austinites, next time you want to complain about SXSW taking over….