SXSW allegedly boosts Austin’s economy by $323.3M

South by Southwest leads the way in not only bringing culture into the city, but also in boosting the economy with a little more umph every March. 

As the live music capital of the world, Austin’s culture is largely centered around its eclectic population of emerging local musicians and startups. Each March, South by Southwest attracts music, film and game lovers from all over into Austin. The festival encompasses all different aspects of the city’s unique nature by hosting a variety of shows and events to showcase local talent- especially musicians – and bring the city together. In addition to the immense cultural impact SXSW has on Austin, it is also responsible for a tremendous economic boost.

SXSW has been an ongoing tradition for years, and every year Austinites see the prevalent economic benefits. According to an article by KXAN, SXSW raked in $323.3M at the 2016 festival, which is $10M more than the previous year.

The article also gave us a detailed number break-down that proves just how much of a moneymaker this festival is:

  • 59,000 hotel rooms booked by SXSW registrants
  • 140,000 SXSW tickets sold
  • 2,200 bands performed
  • 460 film screenings
  • 13 days of conferences
  • 8 exhibitions
  • 4 trade shows


With the festival attracting many creative, tech-savvy professionals each year, hotel sales sky rocket during the week of SXSW. In an effort to accommodate these visitors, the city has built a number of hotels to expand Austin’s lodging capacity, including the luxurious Hotel Van Zandt and Holiday Inn Express.

Not only does SXSW enhance Austin’s creative and innovative reputation, it herds in the big bucks that can help strengthen the city’s social and economic structure. With this revenue flooding in year after year, Austin is able to enhance quality of living for its residents by building new parks, expanding roads, preserving natural areas and increasing social benefits.

In an economic analysis from the organization itself, SXSW is called the single most profitable event for the city of Austin’s hospitality industry. In a city rooted in music, good vibes and innovation, what better way to rake in the big bucks than put on a festival that emphasizes it all!

We’re already stoked about next year’s festival (March 6-9) and can’t wait to see what kind of further impact it will bring. See you there, Austinites!

(Feature photo courtesy of Austin360)