COTA announces $900M economic impact on Austin

Circuit of the Americas (AP Photo/Eric Gay)
Circuit of the Americas (AP Photo/Eric Gay)

AUSTIN (KXAN) — In a press release to the media, the Circuit of the Americas announced their economic impact on the city of Austin is $900 million. With just days until the next big Formula One race, on Tuesday officials with Circuit of the Americas announced the economic impact the track has on the city of Austin. According to the report, there were 1.1 million attendees across all COTA events during the fiscal year 2014, leading to $731 million in economic impact. An additional $166 million is attributed directly to COTA operations.

“COTA has had a significant positive impact on our community and city. COTA has turned out to be more than a race track,” said Mayor Lee Leffingwell. “It is a job creator, a revenue generator, and a venue for quality year round entertainment.”

COTA conducted a study with Greyhill Advisors looking at everything from hotels, restaurants, even food trailers – on what kind of money visitors are spending when they come to Austin for events at the track. That includes not only F1 weekend but also MOTO GP, the X-Games, as well as track rentals, and concerts and events at the 360 Amphitheater. The study examines all of the dollars spent during the 2013 – 2014 season.  During that time the report cites six motor sports, 18 concerts, and 110 track rentals.  Here’s the breakdown provided by COTA:

  • Formula 1 generated $507 million in economic impactfor the Austin metropolitan area
  • All other major sporting events, including ESPN’s X Games, generated $161 million in economic impact
  • Concerts and events at Austin360 Amphitheater generated $49 million in economic impact
  • Track rentals and other miscellaneous events generated an additional $14 million in economic impact
  • Track operations support 9100 jobs in the region

Both Leffingwell and COTA chairman Bobby Epstein stressed that taxpayer dollars did not pay for COTA.

“That is one of the commonly misunderstood things about how F1 is funded. F1 does not cost the city of Austin any money, and it does not cost the state of Texas any money,” said Leffingwell. The mayor said money paid to Formula One as for a sanctioning fee and the money is refunded by the increase in hotel tax and sales tax generated by the event.

“It is really cost neutral to the state of Texas and cost positive to the city of Austin because we get the sales tax benefit,” said Leffingwell.

“There is no money to pay back to the state. It is using the tax money that comes in during that period from out of state visitors to reimburse the F1 sanction fee,” said Bobby Epstein. “Wherever they (F1) go, they know they make a tremendous economic impact and that’s why governments support encouraging them to come.”

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