Study: Circuit of the Americas makes Austin a lot of money

Here's what the COTA looks like from overhead. Photo: Milagro

Ever heard of the Circuit of the Americas? It’s the superb Texas track that has hosted the Austin GP in the last couple years, as well as press launches and other motorsport events. It’s also a big money-maker for the city of Austin, a study says.

According to a study by New York-based Greyhill Advisors, COTA brought around $897 million USD to the Austin area between October 1, 2013 and September 30, 2014, thanks to all the money gearheads spend when they’re in town for the races/concert/X Games/whatever. The report was commissioned by COTA, so it’s not surprising that it’s positive, but it’s still good news for the city, especially when you consider it wasn’t financed with public money.

In the report, the mayor of Austin was full of praise for the facility, calling it “a job creator, a revenue generator, and a destination for quality, year-round entertainment. These benefits to taxpayers result from racetrack construction that was solely funded by private investment.”

Supposedly, 1.1 million people attended events at COTA last year (including MotoGP). The biggest money-making event was the Formula 1 car race, which accounted for $507 million to the Austin area on its own. The other sporting events (X-Games, MotoGP, etc.) accounted for $161 million, and concerts at the Austin360 Amphitheater brought in $49 million. The other money came from things like track rentals.

So the question now is: How do we get something like this built in Canada? Maybe, since the NHL seems intent on keeping Jim Balsillie out, we can somehow get him interested in investing whatever money he has left into motorsports instead? We’re sure the GTA would love to have an extra billion dollars coming into the city every year. And then maybe, just maybe, this could finally bring MotoGP back to Canada? Or maybe a round of World Superbike. But, seeing the turnout drop at CSBK events in recent years, you might be better off saving for a trip to Austin instead. They’ll happily take your money, apparently.


    • There are lots of winter events that would bring in money; Winter X-Games and other extreme sports, snowmobile/ice racing, NHL winter classics, etc.

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