A first-ever economic impact study of Red Rocks Amphitheatre’s role in local economies finds the venue supporting more than 7,000 jobs across a number of business sectors, contributing tens of millions of dollars in tax revenues and providing more than $700 million in economic activity over the course of a concert season.

The study by BBC Research & Consulting (BBC) evaluated data from the 2022 Red Rocks concert season and details the ripple effects of dollars spent in the Denver Metro Area and the State of Colorado by fans, tourists and those who bring shows to the 83-year-old venue’s iconic stage. 

“Red Rocks is the most amazing concert venue in the world,” said Denver Mayor Mike Johnston. "This study proves what Denverites have known for years: Red Rocks, and Denver's creative community, are powerful economic and cultural forces for our city."

Jobs –
Key highlight:  7,300 jobs impacted by activity at Red Rocks Amphitheatre
Key highlight:  $717 million in regional economic output from venue activity

The BBC report said 7,300 full- and part-time jobs are supported by activity at Red Rocks, generating $216 million in payroll in the Denver metro area, and an additional $6 million statewide. Those jobs are in a variety of sectors, including entertainment, restaurant, food and beverage, accommodations, tourism, transportation and more. Total economic output realized from venue activity amounted to $717 million across the region.

“From performers and stagehands to box office staff and maintenance crews, 1.5 million Red Rocks fans means a big boost for the local concert industry,” said Tad Bowman, venue manager at Red Rocks. “There will be 400 people working on-site each show, but there are literally thousands of jobs across the region supported by what happens at Red Rocks.”

Baseline numbers for the 2022 season included total gross sales (before payments to artists, staff, maintenance, contractors, suppliers) of $186 million. Attendance was 1,747,465 at 217 ticketed events – an increase from 75 events a decade ago.

Tourism – Key highlight:  Nearly 30 percent of fans are from outside Denver Metro Area

The number of jobs mentioned by the BBC report – those away from the venue in the hotel, transportation and related industries - highlights the importance of Red Rocks as a tourist draw. According to the report and data from the venue’s ticketing provider, between 27 percent and 40 percent of a Red Rocks audience may be from out of state.

“Red Rocks Amphitheatre has a reputation among music fans as a bucket list venue to visit, and that world-class reputation means visitors from across the globe make significant contributions to the local and state economy when they visit Denver,” said Richard Scharf, president and CEO of VISIT DENVER. “Red Rocks has been an important part of Visit Denver’s summer marketing program for years and its appeal continues to grow and drive incremental tourism statewide.”

Visitor spending is subject to sales tax and lodging tax, generating more than $20 million per year in tax revenues for state and local governments.

The top markets represented by Red Rocks’ ticket buyers outside of the Front Range include Chicago, New York/New Jersey, Los Angeles, Dallas-Ft. Worth, Minneapolis-St. Paul and San Francisco.

Hot Dogs and Beer – Key highlight:  1,006,274 malt beverages sold in one season

While Red Rocks recorded $186 million in gross sales in 2022, the economics of the venue included almost $40 million in gross concessions revenue. While not mentioned explicitly in the BBC report, sales figures provide an important snapshot of fan behavior and related spending.

“Every Coke or Coors sold has a long line of people who’ve gotten that beverage into a fan’s hands,” said Brian Kitts, who oversees Red Rocks’ corporate partnerships and marketing. “The people who make the product, the can or packaging it comes in, the driver who gets it up the hill, the marketing crew, the recycler, the server and the team that cleans up the spills – every one of them has a part in the ecosystem and a part of the dollar.”

The numbers of items sold are significant – 1,006,274 malt beverages, including more than 400,000 seltzers. Red Rocks is the top on-premise location in the United States for sales of White Claw Hard Seltzer. And, 111,800 hot dogs were sold.

The Return on Investment – Key highlight:  $8.5 million spent on venue maintenance annually

Beyond benefits to product sales and the region’s laborers, money spent at Red Rocks supports government, Red Rocks itself and the City’s arts and cultural programs. The study details $6 million in tax revenue to the City of Denver as well as money spent to enhance venue security and fan experience. As a special revenue fund of the City, Denver Arts & Venues (DAV) is self-funding and revenue made at Red Rocks is required to maintain the venue and cover all expenses. Some revenues from the venue support free cultural programs in Denver, including the Five Points Jazz Festival, mural programs and other cultural activity.

Recent capital investments made by DAV are vital for Red Rocks Amphitheatre to remain competitive and include a new stage roof, pathway lighting, the Ship Rock Grille, parking and road improvements, and rehabilitation of the South Ramp and improvements to the top plaza, Ship Rock Grille and seating areas for fans with disabilities. These projects typically range from $500,000 to $1 million in cost, with larger endeavors like the stage roof ($6.2 million) and $5.3 million for waste management facilities. DAV invests approximately $8.5 million per year, with a significant portion attributed to visitor spending, back into Red Rocks.

“The study makes it clear that regular re-investment back into the venues managed by DAV is crucial in ensuring Red Rocks is and continues to be a destination for visitors and an important piece of Colorado’s economic puzzle for years to come,” added Bowman.

More information, including the full study, can be found at RedRocksOnline.com/Impact