You might have read or seen one of the many news reports this week on the economic impact of Austin's Circuit of the Americas track.
A report commissioned by the track found that it had a nearly $1 billion impact on the local economy over the last year. That's a big number, nearly three times as much as the estimated economic impact of South By Southwest.
But what does it mean, really? What are we talking about when we talk about economic impact?
I put that question and more to Ben Lofstgaarden of Greyhill Advisors, the firm commissioned by Circuit of the Americas (COTA) to do the report (and the same firm that does annual reports on SXSW's economic impact).
"What's unique about the impact [report] that we did for COTA is that it wasn't just for one single event," he says. "It was for the whole suite of activities that they do over the course of the year."
So it's not just Formula One, it's also all the other races, concerts and events like the X Games held at COTA throughout the year. (COTA is a separate entity from Formula One – F1 is the race, COTA is the venue.) The actual direct economic impact of all of that – dollars that can be traced directly from the track into the economy? It's $515 million. So how do you go from that to nearly a billion dollars of economic impact? There's some nuance to the numbers.