The 2016 Austin City Limits Music Festival had an estimated impact of $277.4 million on Austin’s economy, according to a study released Monday.
The study was commissioned by ACL Fest and conducted by Austin-based Angelou Economics.
Of the total estimated economic impact, $124.1 million was directly tied to festival operations, while the remaining $153.3 million came from expenditures made by attendees.
By comparison, South by Southwest, another major Austin event, had a $325.3 million impact on the local economy in 2016, according to a study conducted by consulting firm Greyhill Advisors and paid for by SXSW.
ACL Fest 2016, which took place over consecutive three-day weekends, drew 75,000 attendees each day to Zilker Park, organizers say. More than 100 bands performed, including Kendrick Lamar, Radiohead, LCD Soundsystem, Mumford & Sons and The Chainsmokers.
The event’s 2016 economic impact was up nearly $55 million over 2015, when the estimated impact was $222.9 million, according to the study. That’s a 25 percent increase.
“The economic impact of the ACL Music Festival is on par with hosting the (NCAA) Final Four, except in Austin everybody wins,” Austin Mayor Steve Adler told the American-Statesman. “Thanks to ACL, 2,802 got jobs and our parks got $6.3 million.”
ACL Fest organizer C3 Presents makes regular contributions to the city’s parks department in return for being able to use Zilker Park for the festival each year.
Since 2006, ACL Fest says, it has had an estimated impact of $1.5 billion on the city’s economy. That year, when the festival was one weekend instead of two, the estimated economic impact was $67.5 million.
ACL Fest got its start in 2002.
In 2016, ACL Fest generated the equivalent of 2,802 full-time jobs with labor income of $99.2 million, according to the study. That’s nearly four times as many jobs as in 2006, when the festival was responsible for 774 jobs.
The primary beneficiaries of ACL Fest’s economic impact, according to the study, are local hotels, restaurants, bars and other tourism-focused businesses.
Pluckers Wing Bar co-founder Dave Paul said that’s true for his business, which has five Austin-area locations, with two more – at The Linc in North Austin and in Oak Hill Plaza in Southwest Austin – on the way.
“ACL has consistently become one of the busiest weeks at our Austin locations,” Paul said. “We love the idea that local Pluckers fans are able to bring their out-of-town friends to enjoy a meal at Pluckers. Due to this, ACL has definitely helped Pluckers expand into other areas throughout Texas with a stronger brand recognition.”
The lineup for this year’s festival, which runs Oct. 6-8 and Oct. 13-15, is expected to be released at 6 a.m. Thursday. Three-day passes go on sale at 10 a.m. Thursday.