Tuesday, May 2, 2017 by Chad Swiatecki

Austin City Limits touts $277M economic benefit

An oversized $6.3 million check to benefit Austin parks might’ve been the physically largest number discussed during a Monday confab with city officials and promoters of the Austin City Limits Festival, but it was a different number that was the focus of the event.

That number is the festival’s annual economic impact to the city. In 2016, the festival, which takes place over two weekends each fall in Zilker Park, brought in a total of $277.4 million. The study from local economics firm AngelouEconomics showed a 24 percent increase in the festival’s impact in Austin over its 2015 edition, with $124 million in revenue coming from festival operations and another $153 million in attendee expenditures.

Mayor Steve Adler said the impact was akin to the benefits seen by cities that host an NCAA Final Four – give or take about $70 million.

“There’s been no better brand for the city of Austin than being the live music capital of the world,” Adler said at the start of the press conference. “Regardless of if you attended ACL this past year or not, everyone in the city of Austin won with ACL.”

Adler and festival co-founder Charlie Jones of Austin-based C3 Presents used the occasion to tout other figures related to the festival: 2,802 jobs created with payouts around $100 million, a 0.5 percent decrease in the area’s unemployment rate and a drastic increase in the festival’s economic footprint from the $68 million it stirred up locally in 2006.

A big part of that increase came from the festival’s expansion to a second weekend beginning in 2013.

The parks donation will help fund infrastructure, renovations and programming at parks throughout the city, and parks boosters made a point to mention the improvement to the grounds at Zilker Park that have come about thanks to C3’s donations and preservation efforts there since the festival’s launch in 2002. To date, the company that became a part of entertainment giant Live Nation in 2014 has donated more than $26 million to Austin parks.

Also noted during the announcement was the big day coming on Thursday, when the lineup for the 2017 edition of the festival gets revealed and tickets go on sale to the general public.

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Key Players & Topics In This Article

Austin City Limits festival: The annual music festival held in Zilker Park over two weekends in October.

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