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Report: SXSW 2010 Pumped $113 Million into Austin Economy

SXSW 2010 Geeks band
Photo courtesy JTImages
A Japanese band called Geeks puts up a poster during SXSW 2010. A study today says the festival generated $113 million in spending for the Austin economy.

South by Southwest's 2010 conference injected $113 million dollars into the city's economy, mainly from people who traveled to Austin to attend. That's according to a new economic report from GreyHill Advisors, whom SXSW commissioned to conduct the study.

You can read a five page executive summary of the report on GreyHill's website. Here are some highlights:

  • The total number of SXSW 2010 attendees totaled almost 159,000. If you include people who came for the Flatstock poster show, the Austin Record Convention, and the Texas Guitar Show, the number hit 197,000.
  • SXSW's Housing Desk directly booked more than 8,800 individual reservations totaling 39,000 room nights, a 10 percent increase over 2009.
  • Attendees spent $81 million. Corporate sponsorships, festival-specific expenditures, and SXSW's spending totaled another $31 million.

Interestingly, the SXSW-commissioned analysis by GreyHill Advisors concluded that the many unofficial SXSW events "do not introduce significant benefits for the city and are not recognized by this analysis." Unofficial events brought thousands of locals downtown as they flocked to free venues such as the Levi Jeans/Fader Magazine sponsored Fader Fort and the Don't Mess With Texas mini-festival. 

The study also said that SXSW's global media exposure helped bolster Austin's "distinctive identity as a thriving center for music, technology and film," and helped maintain "the ubiquity of Austin's reputation as a creative and entrepreneurial community."

Nathan Bernier is the transportation reporter at KUT. He covers the big projects that are reshaping how we get around Austin, like the I-35 overhaul, the airport's rapid growth and the multibillion-dollar transit expansion Project Connect. He also focuses on the daily changes that affect how we walk, bike and drive around the city. Got a tip? Email him at Follow him on X @KUTnathan.