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Houston Leads U.S. Metros When It Comes to Entertainment Spending

Published Feb 21, 2022 by Ernesto Becerra

Houston Leads U.S. Metros When it Comes to Entertainment Spending

Houston is bursting with entertainment options for everyone. Whether it’s grabbing a drink at a local bar, watching a live sporting event, or enjoying the beauty of a local performance by the Houston Symphony, you will never be without something to do in this town. Because of this multitude of entertainment options, it may come as little surprise that Houston ranks No. 1 among U.S. metros in spending on entertainment.

The study by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics measured “entertainment” in the following fields:

  • Fees and admissions – everything from fees for participant sports to admissions to sporting events, movies, concerts, and plays. Also includes health and country club memberships and recreation expenses on trips.
  • Television, radio and sound equipment 
  • Pets, toys, hobbies and playground equipment 
  • Other entertainment equipment and services – everything from athletic equipment and recreational vehicles to photographic equipment and supplies.

While other categories like audiovisual equipment, pets, toys, and hobbies saw flat or slightly increased spending from 2019 to 2020, typical annual household spending on fees and admissions dropped from $880 to $425.

During the COVID-19 pandemic and its preceding shutdowns in the spring of 2020, the national spending on entertainment decreased by an estimated 5.7%, driven by a 51.7% reduction in fees and admissions. As a whole, revenue in the entertainment sector dropped from $61 billion in the last quarter of 2019 to $23 billion in the second quarter of 2020. Revenues eventually rebounded to roughly $49.5 billion in the second quarter of 2021.

Despite the setback during the two-year period, Houston progressively recovered bringing an average annual entertainment spending to $6,040, outranking other U.S. metros by almost 2%.


As stated in the Partnership’s 2022 Employment Forecast, the full benefits from reopening after COVID-19 restrictions and mandates have yet to accrue for arts and recreation. The traditional drivers such as local population growth, income, leisure time, out-of-town visitors, corporate donations, fitness resolutions, and pent-up consumer demand will spur continued growth in Houston’s entertainment sector during 2022.


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Executive Partners