Festivals

SXSW 2015 Brings More Than $317M to Austin

Michael Angelakos of Passion Pit performs at the Spotify House at SXSW 2015 on March 19, 2015 in Austin, Tx.
Alli Harvey/Getty Images for Spotify

Michael Angelakos of Passion Pit performs at the Spotify House at SXSW 2015 on March 19, 2015 in Austin, Tx.

This year's South by Southwest music, film and interactive conferences and festivals totaled $317.2 million in additional economic impact for the city of Austin, Texas, according to an annual study released by the event on Tuesday.  

The comprehensive report marks the ninth consecutive study for the massive happening, which turned 29 last March. Last year's study reported $315.3 million in total economic impact brought by SXSW 2014. 

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"SXSW is a testament to the creative and collaborative culture that has become synonymous with Austin," said Michael W. Rollins, CCE, President of the Austin Chamber of Commerce, in a statement. "It remains a key economic driver that supports our local economy and innovation community well after the main event concludes."   

Through SXSW's 13 days of industry conferences -- including a four-day trade show, eight exhibitions, a six-night music festival with more than 2,275 bands and a nine-day film festival with more than 400 screenings -- conference and festival participants totaled 139,525, including all registrants and single admission ticket holders. 

As well, SXSW Consumer Event participants defined as "guest pass holders" at free-to-the-public events such as the three-night Outdoor Stage concerts at Lady Bird Lake attracted an additional 171,200 participants. 

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The event continues to be Austin's single most profitable event for the hospitality industry. In 2015, SXSW directly booked 13,300 individual hotel reservations totaling 60,254 room nights and the average length of hotel bookings reached five nights, marking an all-time high. 

In this study, SXSW's total economic impact is calculated in three parts -- operational output, SXSW conference & festival impact and SXSW guest pass holders. In 2015, the impact of SXSW operational output was $116.6 million, SXSW conference & festival impact was $140.6 million and SXSW guest pass holders impact was more than $60 million. 

"SXSW's goal is to gather the world's creative community under one tent, but as a result over 30 years we helped spark a hospitality industry boom that created countless Austin jobs from construction to transportation to dining and more. The lodging industry alone currently employs more than 75,000 people," said SXSW executive director Mike Shea in a statement. 

The study also puts a price on the media coverage that Austin receives from SXSW, calculating the value of of SXSW print, broadcast and online coverage to exceed $90.6 million. In 2015, SXSW achieved over 80.1 billion broadcast, print and online impressions, the report states. 

Download and read the full study here