Austin officials happy with MTV portrayal, which is worth $20 million

One of The Real World Austin’s seven strangers was welcomed to the city with a punch to the face in the middle of a street. Despite that, and despite the cast’s drunken, sexual antics, the Austin Convention and Visitors Bureau is happy with the show so far. The organization’s marketing and communications director, Cynthia Maddox, says she was a “little shocked,” but says, “For the crowd that watches it, quite frankly, it looks like they’re having fun. It plays right to the crowd that this is intended for.”

That upbeat attitude might also have to do with the fact that “[t]he Austin Convention and Visitors Bureau, using economic formulas beloved by tourism associations, calculated the show is worth $20 million in publicity for the city, based on the idea that every half-hour episode is a free ad.”