Circuit of the Americas claims huge economic impact on Austin

Oct 29, 2014
Austin American Statesman

Circuit of the Americas is having a huge economic impact on Austin, circuit officials said Tuesday, pointing to an analysis they commissioned that contends the track has pumped billions into the region’s economy in the past four years

The numbers — an $897 million impact in the past year, and $2.8 billion since 2010 — dwarf the economic impacts attributed to South by Southwest and the Austin City Limits Music Festival, and they drew skepticism from some civic leaders

The analysis was conducted by Greyhill Advisors – the same consulting firm that handles SXSW’s annual economic impact report

“This is an economic impact of truly impressive magnitude,” said Greyhill Advisors partner Ben Loftsgaarden. “The beneficiary of this isn’t COTA, it’s the city of Austin.”

The analysis rests, in part, on findings that thousands more people turned out for the track’s signature event, the Formula One U.S. Grand Prix, and those F1 attendees on average spent about 30 percent more money than the typical SXSW attendee

According to the report, the 200 or so events held in the past year at Circuit of the Americas pumped $897 million into the region’s economy. That’s nearly three times the $315 million economic impact SXSW said it had this year and almost five times the $182 million impact that ACL Fest claimed in 2013

Since 2010, when plans to bring Formula One racing to Central Texas were announced, Circuit of the Americas said it has had an economic impact of $2.8 billion, including $918 million from construction of the sprawling facility in Southeast Austin

The Formula One race accounted for the lion’s share of the track’s total economic impact in the year ending Sept. 30, the report found, contributing about $507 million

This year’s F1 races will take place this weekend

Print Article opens in new window