Friday, August 10, 2012

Blog Stage 7

This November, many Austinites will be able to add another event on their "things to do around Austin" list. On November 16, Austin will be holding its first Formula One (F1) race in the city. The track, called the Circuit of the Americas (source), will be the penultimate race of the F1 season. However, despite the excitement surrounding this event, there are many who think that this is a bad idea.

Back in 2010, news broke out that organizers of F1 would begin plans on building a track in Travis County (Source). The contract between the city and the organizers proposed a 10-year agreement for a Grand Prix to be held on the track. However, many of those who oppose this plan believes that Austin will not have enough money or land to construct and maintain such a high class facility. They believe that Texas does not have that kind of money to be spending. In some ways, they're right. With a budget deficit of $27 billion dollars, this will further cut into this deficit affecting the economy and with the state cutting spending left and right, this will be counter intuitive. In fact, the state announced that they would provide $25 million dollars per year to support the event costing $250 million dollars for the 10 year contract (source). However, one thing to note is the fact that there have been reports where estimated revenue will be around $300 million dollars a year. This means that one year of these events will pay of the rest of the nine years (source).

Another thing to note is the fact that tickets to these events don't come cheap. With a minimum value of $1000 up to $5000 and an option to arrive by helicopter, its easy to say that these tickets are targeted towards the big spenders.(source)(source) This will allow for greater income since these people will not look twice before spending money.
Austin's image will also change positively. With the addition of an F1 track in Austin, the city will join the place of other cities that have hosted Grand Prix events such as Reims, Barcelona, and Buenos Aires. In fact, with the race in November, this will be the first time a Grand Prix has taken place in the U.S. since 2007 and in Texas since 1984.
The circuit does not contain only racing either. Right next to it will be The Tower Amphitheater where a capacity of 15,000 will enjoy live music organized by Live Nation, one of America's top entertainment company (source). This will only further the revenues when it is completed around 2013.

Overall, we see that the addition of this F1 circuit will only bring good news for Austin. By increasing revenue and bringing many avid racing fans from around the world, Austin is starting to become a major city in the U.S. and in the world.

Friday, August 3, 2012

Blog Stage 6

To many around the world, Austin is considered to be the "live music capital of the world" and the main event that surrounds our city is ACL, Austin City Limits. In fact, there are people that come from around the country and even outside the US just to join in on the music. There have been recent announcements from the organizers of ACL that the event will take place over two weekends rather than just one (Source). According to Robin's blog, he supports this change because it will be "nothing but benefit for Austin". Personally I think that this will have both positive and negative effects but the positive ones will out weigh the negative ones. In other words, extending ACL to two weekends will not be a 100% good decision.

One of the main positive effects that will come from this is the fact that ACL brings many people from all over the world. This not only increases participation for ACL but helps Austin economically too. As Robin said, the organizers of ACL donate millions of money each year to the city and the increase of tourism helps the city as well. In terms of the city's economy ACL only helps the city. ACL brings more money than it costs to set up. Another thing that Robin mentions is the fact that more people will be allowed to experience ACL. Having two weekends allow people to listen to more bands and let them choose between which two weekends they would like to go. Personally I think that this might affect turnout from fans because they will have to choose between which two weekend. Even if it's possible to buy both weekend passes, the cost might be too much for many. Nonetheless, allowing fans to choose between which weekend they want will increase the amount of fans that will come.

However, one important factor that Robin forgets to mention is the massive clean up that happens after ACL. This video shows the aftermath of ACL a few years ago. As you can see, there was a sea of mud in front of the stages where grass used to be. If ACL were to be extended over two weekends we might see worse damage to Zilker Park. As Robin said, its true that Zilker Park will be unavailable during these two weekends but it's important to note what will happen after ACL. We can see what happens when ACL happens on one weekend but what will happen when this doubles?

Overall despite this possible effect, the fact that ACL helps Austin both economically and culturally, heavily outweighs the negative consequences. This extra ACL weekend will greatly benefit Austin and as Robin said will help our city "prosper well into future generations."