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SXSW reps say enrollment is on par with previous years, despite coronavirus concerns

Casino El Camino's owner said he expects to double his revenue this year during SXSW.

AUSTIN, Texas — Editor's note: Austin and Travis County leaders announced on March 6 that SXSW has been canceled.

South by Southwest (SXSW) generates hundreds of millions of dollars for Austin each year – but that's not stopping over 20,000 people from signing a petition to cancel the event amid coronavirus concerns.

Casino El Camino on Sixth Street is pretty busy on a Monday afternoon, but in less than two weeks, owner "Casino Eighmey" expects the bar to be packed for SXSW, despite fears about the virus.

"The people are going to come no matter what," Eighmey said.

According to SXSW, the festival brought in almost 300,000 people from across the tech, film and music industries last year. 

"Maybe some people might not come from overseas at much, but there is going to be just as many people here," Eighmey said.


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Eighmey said he expects his revenue to double during the festival as it has in years past. And he isn't the only one bringing in the loot during SXSW. Last year, the festival had a $355 million impact on Austin's economy – $5 million more than in 2018. 

Despite the thousands of petition signatures and tweets calling for the festival's cancelation, on Monday, workers were putting up SXSW flags downtown – making it clear the festival will continue as planned

"You probably won't see a lot of shaking hands but elbow bumps and fist bumps for SXSW," Eighmey said. "We will put out bottles of hand sanitizers. If, you know, people want to take advantage of that, that's fine." 

A SXSW representative said the festival's enrollment is on par with years past and they expect to see a good crowd. 

WATCH: Concerns continue to grow over how coronavirus may affect SXSW


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