Austin businesses hoping for boost from X Games

Jun 5, 2014
Austin American Statesman

Hotels, restaurants and other businesses across Central Texas are expecting an economic boost this weekend from the 2014 Summer X Games – an event that will bring thousands of visitors to the area and could pump as much as $50 million into the region’s economy

The high-energy X Games, featuring about 200 athletes from around the globe competing in BMX, skateboarding and other youth-oriented extreme sports, start Thursday and continue through Sunday, primarily at the Circuit of the Americas complex. The event also brings some big-name musicians to town, with Kanye West, the Flaming Lips, My Jerusalem and others set to play the circuit’s Austin360 Amphitheater

This is the first time the X Games have been held in Austin. ESPN, which created the X Games in 1995, last year announced that Central Texas had snagged hosting rights for four years beginning in 2014, beating out Chicago, Detroit and Charlotte, N.C.

Altogether, the event is expected to draw in excess of 100,000 people, a mix of locals and tourists, based upon attendance figures from past years. Organizers declined Wednesday to reveal how many tickets have been sold, citing competitive reasons.

If that estimate of 100,000 attendees holds true, that’d be at least twice the number of people expected to attend the Republic of Texas Biker Rally later this month.

A study conducted by Micronomics Inc. found that the 2010 X Games had an economic impact of $50 million on Los Angeles County – including everything from increased tourism to expenditures made by ESPN production crews to the benefits of global media exposure

The South by Southwest festival, by comparison, had an economic impact of $218 million on Austin in 2013, according to a study commissioned by festival organizers. Figures for 2014 aren’t yet available

The Micronomics Inc. study found that the average X Games out-of-town spectator spent about $153 per day while in Los Angeles

Hotels are among the biggest winners when events such as the X Games roll into town. Almost immediately after Austin got the nod from ESPN, hoteliers say, their phones started ringing and traffic jumped on their websites

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