Willie Nelson made a big splash in 2007 when he began promoting—with the publication of a slim volume called On The Clean Road Again—his foray into the alternate energy business. The product he was selling was a soybean-based biodiesel product called BioWillie, and on the surface, it made perfect sense: Fuel costs were skyrocketing, truck drivers love Wilie Nelson, farmers—a constituency Nelson has long been invested in—needed more things to grow, and vegetable-based fuels were beginning to come into their own. With an eye to the future, BioWillie was born.
Say this for Jerry Jones: He’s always been a shrewd businessman. It’s true that applying the financial savvy that it takes to turn a new stadium into a profit-making engine may have had real on-field costs in terms of lost homefield advantage— but as long as he continues to own the most valuable team in the NFL (by a $500,000,000 margin) and the fifth most valuable franchise in all of worldwide sports, everything’s coming up Jerry.
Using that stadium for other events, meanwhile, is just another giant drop in the giant bucket full of money that Jones presumably bathes in, Scrooge McDuck-like, every night. One of those other events, though, may end up conflicting with the Cowboys surprising turn as strong contenders to host a postseason game or two at the stadium formerly known as JerryWorld:
UT’s football season has roughly met expectations: The team wasn’t supposed to be very good and they’re not very good. Charlie Strong was brought in to recruit better classes going forward, but in his first year, a 3-4 record is about as good as the team could hope for. Still, none of that really matters when you look at the primary metric one can use to judge football success. Who cares about a winning record when the revenue for the program a whopping $109 million, almost $30 million more than the next-closest school?
Once upon a time, if you wanted the opportunity to play video games with an advanced degree of graphic complexity, you needed to get a bunch of quarters, go somewhere that had the cabinets, and pay per-play to get your game on. Now, though, seemingly every kid in America has access to Minecraft or Angry Birds at his or her disposal at every moment, and can kill hours staring at the screen without leaving the home, for one fixed price.
Which would make a concept like Dave & Busters, the Dallas-based chain of casual dining restaurants whose hook is its massive arcade room, seem like one fated for the dustbin of history. But the company held its IPO last Thursday—at a bargain rate of $16 per share—and it’s managed to increase its value through the first week. As the Dallas Morning News reports:
Live Nation Entertainment is the largest live music promoter in the world, but it’s never had much presence in Austin. The company posts more than $5 billion a year in revenue, with an operating budget of over $18 billion annually. It was spun out of San Antonio-based radio/billboard/entertainment holding company ClearChannel (which rebranded this fall as “IHeartMedia”) and grew to mammoth proportions after a 2010 merger with international ticketing behemoth Ticketmaster.
But aside from a 2012 deal that gave the company the booking rights at the Austin 360 Amphitheater at the Circuit of the Americas racetrack, the company’s presence in Austin has been limited. It books events occasionally at the Frank Erwin Center, but despite the staggering 120+ venues it operates/owns/exclusively books around the U.S. and the rest of the world, Live Nation has struggled to establish much hold in Austin.
Early October is the least SXSW-y time of the year in Austin. For one, it’s almost equidistant from both the previous festival and the next one. Meanwhile, the Austin City Limits Festival has the Texas music press focused on a different big event. And the kid-brother SXSW Eco conference that occurs this time of year? Well, while, it’s a useful meeting of minds on an important topic, it doesn’t exactly register as a cultural force.
But in Austin today, SXSW is all the news. That’s because the takeaway from a new report created by Populous, an international design and planning firm—whose other clients include the Super Bowl, the World Cup, and the Olympics—includes a headline-grabbing bullet-point on its 8th page:
As far as metrics for assessing the health of state economies go, how many of a state’s residents place on Forbes’ list of the 400 Richest Americans is not a particularly good one. That’s good news, because if it were, Texas would be on the decline.
Last year, the list of the 400 richest people in America included 41 Texans, which meant that those of us who are not billionaires could at least take some satisfaction in the fact that we were all sleeping under the same big Texas sky as so many whose lives are filled with the glory of financial excess. But, alas, the new list from Forbes is out now, and for whatever reason, there are only 39 Texans on it. That’s also down from a whopping 46 in 2012, which means that the rareified air of Texas is getting less prestigious by the year.
Say this for SpaceX (and Tesla Motors) founder and CEO Elon Musk: He doesn’t have a low opinion of his abilities or the importance of his ideas. The eleventy-billionaire broke ground this week on SpaceX’s private, commercial spaceflight launch facility just outside of Brownsville, and he has high ambitions for what that means for the future of not just his company, or the Rio Grande Valley, but all of mankind.
Musk believes we must look way beyond, to the final frontier. The best hope for humanity’s survival, he says, is to colonize other worlds in the event of a planet-wide disaster that could wipe out our species, like a pandemic or asteroid impact.
“I really think it’s important that we’re on multiple planets and a spacefaring civilization so that sort of preserves the future of humanity, it’s sort of life insurance collectively.” Musk said in a TV interview with comedian Stephen Colbert.