Austin Mayor Lee Leffingwell speaks about the phenomenal economic impact that 2013 SXSW Conference has had on the City of Austin. Kevin Johns of Austin's Economic Growth and Redevelopment Office shares enthusiasm over the numbers.
The numbers donâ€™t lie. This afternoon, Austin Mayor Lee Leffingwell shared the results of a comprehensive economic impact report that shows the 2013 South by Southwest Music, Film and InteractiveÂ Conferences and Festivals (SXSW) injected more than $218.2 million into the Austin economy.Â Thatâ€™s $25 million over last year!
This analysis, by Greyhill Advisors, validates the fact that SXSW is big, and it solidifies SXSWâ€™s reputation asÂ the worldâ€™s premier gathering, and Austinâ€™s reputation as a creative Mecca for music, film and interactive arts.
â€œFew events can match the depth and breadth of SXSW,â€ says Leffingwell. Heâ€™s right.
SXSW continues to be the singleÂ most profitable event for the City of Austinâ€™s hospitality industry with its offerings of
- 9 days of industry conferences
- a 4-day trade show
- a 6-night music festival featuring more than 2,200 bands
- and a 9-day filmÂ festival with more than 400 screenings.
How about these facts:
- In 2013, SXSW directly booked 13,000 individualÂ hotel reservations totaling 56,000-plus room nightsâ€”a 10 percent increase overÂ 2012. Fueled by limited capacity andÂ an overall increase in spending byÂ registrants the average nightly hotel rate jumped 20 percent to nearly $255.
- At nearly 155,000, the total number of 2013 SXSWÂ Conference and Festival participants (defined as any individual who attended atÂ least one SXSW activity) exceeded allÂ previous records.
- SXSWâ€™s popular free-to-the-public consumer events,Â including the 3-night Auditorium Shores concert series, the 2-day DigitalÂ Creatives Job Market, 4-day FlatstockÂ poster art show, 1-day Edu Future PlansÂ Fair, 3-day Music Gear Expo and the 3-day SXSW Gaming Expo, attracted anÂ additional 150,000 participants.
Justin Timberlake and the Tennessee Kids perform at the 2013 SXSW Conference. (Photo by Jason Kempin)
With the recent additions of Education and Sustainability conferences to itsÂ portfolio, SXSWÂ also extended its signature event-management expertise to new,Â innovative domains and broadened its local economic impact.
Ben Loftsgaarden of Greyhill Advisors says that SXSW â€œcontinues to flex its economic muscle for the Austin economy. He adds that of the registrants, about
â€œSXSW continues to be a truly remarkable event for Austin,â€ said Austin Chamber President Michael Rollins. â€œThis festival not only brings the worldâ€™sÂ attention to Austinâ€™s strengths in community, creativity and commerce, but also provides opportunities to spotlight and support our small businesses whichÂ work tirelessly to prepare for â€“ and engage with â€“ the festivalâ€™s record-setting attendance of over 155,000. Every year we see more quantitative andÂ qualitative benefits from SXSW, and are thrilled to see what the future holds.â€
Flatstock Poster Show at the 2013 SXSW Conference. (Photo by Merrick Ales)
With the continued growth, year after year, itâ€™s no surprise that sales for the next yearâ€™s event is already setting new milestones.
â€œItâ€™s hard to resist thinking about what 2014 is going to bring for us,â€™ says SXSW Director Mike Shea, but the ticket and hotel bookings show 2014 is already setting a new pace.
â€œSXSWÂ® Music, Film and Interactive Conferences and Festivals serves as a cornerstone event for the innovative culture of our city,Â and Austin continues to prosper alongside their tremendous growth,â€œ said Bob Lander, President and CEO of the Austin CVB. â€œIt is also the primary building block in an extremely robust convention season for 2014 and beyond.â€