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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                                                                           

Ben Loftsgaarden, Greyhill Advisors, ben@greyhill.com or 512.786.6100  

Elizabeth Derczo, SXSW, elizabeth@sxsw.com or 512.467.7979                                 

Austin, TX (September 18, 2013) – Greyhill Advisors is proud to present the comprehensive economic impact of the 2013 South by Southwest (SXSW) Music, Film, Interactive, Edu and Eco Conferences and Festivals to the City of Austin. This analysis represents the seventh consecutive study to fully assess the unique nature of SXSW and its beneficial economic impact to the city. The impact of SXSW’s official events totaled $218 million for 2013. 

The Report may be downloaded here: South by Southwest 2013 Economic Impact report

In March 2013, South by Southwest (SXSW) hosted its 27th annual conference, trade show, and festival in Austin, Texas. The event further solidified SXSW’s reputation as the world’s premier gathering of Music, Film, and Interactive professionals. With the recent additions of Education and Sustainability conferences to its portfolio, SXSW also extended its signature event-management expertise to new, innovative domains and broadened its local economic impact on the City of Austin.

SXSW 2013 continued the event’s tradition of offering an unparalleled convergence of the Music, Film, and Interactive industries. For two weeks each March, Austin becomes the global epicenter for engaged creative professionals. The ability of SXSW to connect people across cultures and engage in ideas from a variety of disciplines remains the event’s core value proposition. The sheer scale and density of SXSW provides the opportunity for Austin residents and visitors alike to participate in the extraordinary celebration of creativity and innovation. Both populations introduce and circulate money in the local economy.

 “SXSW continues to be a truly remarkable event for Austin,” said Austin Chamber President Michael Rollins. “This festival not only brings the world’s attention to Austin’s strengths in community, creativity and commerce, but also provides opportunities to spotlight and support our small businesses which work tirelessly to prepare for – and engage with – the festival’s record-setting attendance of over 155,000. Every year we see more quantitative and qualitative benefits from SXSW, and are thrilled to see what the future holds.”

SXSW 2013’s core events set a new record by attracting more than 41,700 registrants. Registrations for SXSWEdu, the Educational spin-off of SXSW, doubled to 4,400 in 2013. Despite phenomenal growth, SXSW has sustained its relevancy for more than a quarter of a century by staying true to its initial origins of creative cross-pollination. In 2013, the number of platinum badgeholders (with access to all events) surged nearly 60%, with a growing number of creative professionals attracted to SXSW’s unmatched depth and breadth of content and activities.
SXSW continues to be the single most profitable event for the City of Austin’s hospitality industry:

     • 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 film festival with more than 400 screenings.

     • In 2013, SXSW directly booked 13,000 individual hotel reservations totaling 56,000-plus room nights—a 10 percent increase over 2012. Fueled by limited capacity and an overall increase in spending by registrants the average nightly hotel rate jumped 20 percent to nearly $255.

     • At nearly 155,000, the total number of 2013 SXSW Conference and Festival participants (defined as any individual who attended at least one SXSW activity) exceeded all previous records.

     • SXSW’s popular free-to-the-public consumer events, including the 3-night Auditorium Shores concert series, the 2-day Digital Creatives Job Market, 4-day Flatstock poster art show, 1-day Edu Future Plans Fair, 3-day Music Gear Expo and the 3-day SXSW Gaming Expo, attracted an additional 150,000 participants.
In 2013, SXSW was responsible for injecting more than $218.2 million into the Austin economy:
Operational Output – This is a measurement of the direct, indirect, and induced local economic benefit of the year-round operations of SXSW as well as event-specific expenditures by SXSW and its official parties and sponsors. In 2013, the impact of SXSW operations on the Austin economy was $88.3 million.
Attendance Expenditures – This captures the direct, indirect, and induced local economic benefit of all attendees of the conference and festival. Attendees include official SXSW badge- holders, industry professionals, and wristband holders, festival exhibitors, and single visitors of events such as film screenings and music concerts. In 2013, SXSW attendance expenditures totaled more than $129.9 million.
In addition to SXSW expenditures and attendance, the 2013 SXSW economic impact analysis also considered the value of media coverage related to the festivals and conferences. In 2013 alone, SXSW—and by extension, Austin, Texas— achieved over 458 million broadcast, print, and online impressions. Although the media exposure enjoyed by SXSW and Austin comes with relatively little cost to the city, such coverage has enormous value. The positive impact of SXSW is compounded because it contributes to a coherent message about Austin, thereby strengthening the city’s brand identity. In 2013 the value of SXSW print, broadcast and online publications coverage totaled more than $37.5 million. 

"SXSW remains the most important annual event in the city of Austin and its value to the community grows each year," said Rob Hagelberg of Four Seasons Hotel. "The demand for hotel rooms has continued to escalate, particularly for the Interactive conference along with the addition of the Educational conference. This growth benefits not only the hotels, but the associated businesses as well as the city and our workforce. The enormous positive publicity generated worldwide as a result of SXSW supports tourism year-round by reinforcing Austin's image as a global hub of creativity & innovation  as well as a desirable place to visit thanks to its unique sense of place and warm Texas hospitality." 

To read and download the full study, please visit www.greyhill.com/blog or www.sxsw.com/press.

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About Greyhill Advisors:  Greyhill Advisors is an economic analysis, economic development and site selection consulting firm with offices in Austin, TX and New York, NY. Greyhill represents a team of seasoned professionals with hands on experience performing economic analysis, assisting leading companies in their location decisions and working with communities to expand their economic potential. For more information, visit www.greyhill.com.

About South by Southwest: The South by Southwest® (SXSW®) Conferences & Festivals offer the unique convergence of original music, independent films, emerging technologies, education and sustainability. Fostering creative and professional growth alike, SXSW® is the premier destination for discovery.

Year after year, the event is a launching pad for new creative content. New media presentations, music showcases and film screenings provide buzz-generating exposure for creators and compelling entertainment for audiences. Conference panel discussions present a forum for learning, business activity thrives at the Trade Shows and global networking opportunities abound. Austin serves as the perfect backdrop for SXSW®, where career development flourishes amid the relaxed atmosphere. Intellectual and creative intermingling among industry leaders continues to spark new ideas and carve the path for the future of each ever-evolving field, long after the events' conclusion.

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