The Economic Value of Outdoor Events in SF

Outside Lands Festival - photo by San Francisco Travel Association

On April 21, 2015, Supervisor Scott Wiener released a study by the San Francisco Controller’s Office on the economic impact of outdoor events — including local festivals, parades, and street fairs — in San Francisco.

The Controller’s Office found that an estimated 3.3 million people attended 79 major outdoor events in San Francisco in 2014. Spending by event attendees in 2014 generated a $1.1 billion impact on the city’s economy, supporting 9,300 jobs in a variety of industries, including retail, food services, accommodations, and transportation. The Office of Economic & Workforce Development, the Entertainment Commission, and a number of local festival producers participated in the development of this study.

Additional key findings from the report include:

  • Event attendees spent an estimated $290 million at outdoor events
  • Food spending at outdoor events is equivalent to 10% of citywide spending at restaurants and bars
  • 58% of attendees were visitors to San Francisco; 85% of them reported that the main reason they visited the City was to attend the outdoor event
  • Outdoor events sustain a significant share of jobs in the hospitality industry, including an estimated 7% of restaurant jobs and 6% of hotel employment

Download a copy of the study as a PDF or read it in its entirety below.

The $1 billion in economic activity generated by outdoor events is in addition to the $4.2 billion generated annually by the City’s restaurants, bars, nightclubs, and live music venues, as determined in a previous economic impact study in 2012.