After years of preparation and eight weeks on the road, Austin FC is finally home.
The club is geared up for its "second start" of the season as they play within the Q2 Stadium walls for the first time and face off against the San Jose Earthquakes at 8 p.m. on Saturday, June 19.
With all of the hype and eight weeks of information to catch up on, it's easy to feel overwhelmed by what to know as the club plays on Austin soil for the first time. Austonia's got you covered with an all-day gameday itinerary that touches on everything from parking to food at Q2 ahead of the long-awaited first match.
8 a.m: What to know before you go
While 8 a.m. may seem like an excessively early start, there's no such thing as too early to be excited for the home opener in this made-up scenario.
First of all, if you're trying to watch the game live at Q2 Stadium, you'll have to scour the sites of ticket resellers like SeatGeek or VividSeats at up charged prices. Tickets sold out on the Austin FC site almost instantly when they dropped last month. (But don't worry, we have watch party info if you didn't snag tickets.)
If you have tickets, you'll want to keep three things in mind as you plan your day:
- Q2 Stadium does not allow bags into the premises unless they are smaller than the size of your hand or medical or childcare bags. Pack light and pack accordingly.
- Q2 is a cashless stadium. Bring your card and download the Austin FC & Q2 Stadium app to streamline your ticketing and concession stand process.
- Plan to leave early, and figure out whether you plan on parking or using public transportation or rideshare ahead of time. We'll get to parking details later.
11 a.m: Scout out watch parties for pregame action
Austin FC has two main supporters' groups within the city: Austin Anthem, which is the longest-running club that hosted a 1,000+ member watch party for the club's season opener, and Los Verdes, a lively crew that features fan band La Murga de Austin.
Austin Anthem is hosting a watch party at their headquarters, Circle Brewing, which is located just down the street from Q2 Stadium at 2340 W Braker Ln. Starting at 11 a.m., the watch party comes with food trucks, live music and more for the whole family.
Meanwhile, Los Verdes will be at the neighboring Hopsquad Brewing for more food, music and the club's newest beer, Los Verdes Pale Ale.
Austin FC has also announced its official watch party at Plucker's Linc on 6406 North I-35 starting at 7 p.m. on matchday. The watch party will include food, drinks, prize giveaways and a live DJ as Austin welcomes their first home team.
Three nearby breweries, including Circle Brewing, Hopsquad and Celis Brewing, are within half a mile of the stadium, so viewers will be able to hear the roar from Q2 as they host watch parties of their own.
For those looking to celebrate at your neighborhood bar across the city, check out Austin FC's 30+ member Pub Club. The club's pub partners have hosted smaller viewing parties for every match of their existence so far, and they should bring bigger crowds come home opener time.
5:15 p.m.: Austin FC supporters' march
Supporters' groups have already marched on Denver and Nashville, and they're doing the same in Austin just before the opening match. Four organizations- La Murga de Austin, Austin Anthem, Oak Army New Braunfels and Los Verdes- have teamed up on the march. Meet just across the street from Hopsquad and Circle Brewing, the two hubs for watch parties, before making your way to welcome the team bus along Calle Norte.
6 p.m: Parking and transportation
Austin FC offers on-site parking to season ticket holders, while other fans can use Cap Metro or offsite parking to get to the first home match. (Austin FC)
Cap Metro has already tested the waters for bringing Austin FC fans to and from matches after a season ticket watch party at Q2 last weekend, and they're geared up for more frequent services at their Kramer Lane stop about a half mile from the stadium.
You can access the bus via the four routes with increased frequency near the stadium or find a Park & Ride stop to get to Q2 without the hassle of parking. For more tips on using Cap Metro, click here, and visit here for a complete gameday schedule.
The club has also mapped out walking and biking routes and a drop-off point for those coming in via limousine or rideshare apps.
For those parking at Q2 Stadium, the club recommends making parking plans before getting to the site. Austin FC has laid out three lots for those with special access.
- East lot via Aguilar Street: For season ticket holders with four or more tickets located in the Captain Morgan Club and Captain Morgan Club East Loges
- North lot via Burnet Road and Bright Verde Way: For season ticket members with four or more tickets located in the Lexus Club and Lexus Club West Loges
- Southwest lot via McKalla Place off Rutland Drive: For Suite Holders and Season Ticket Members with four or more tickets
Season ticket holders get an automatic parking pass with their purchase, and all other ticket holders should visit Pavemint to purchase offsite parking prior to getting to Q2 Stadium. Austin Police and Traffic members will screen those with special access prior to entry.
For more maps and parking information, click here.
7 p.m: You're in! Beer hall, food and in-stadium information
Austin FC's Verde Queso was a competition winner for a reason, and it'll be featured at the stadium's iconic Queso Fountain. (Claire Partain/Austonia)
Once at the stadium, hopefully you'll have time to take in the sights, sounds and smells before the match.
Here's a few things to expect, from local food to craft beers on tap:
- The facility- Austin FC didn't skimp out on Verde & Black furnishings, and they prepped well for the sweltering Texas heat. Some of the stadium's 20,500 seats are made of breathable mesh to help with the summer warmth, and the entire stadium was built to trap a cool breeze that blows throughout the facility. Enter through one of four gates and witness plenty of local art and Austin FC sculptures.
- The Austin FC Beer Hall- will open its doors four hours before kickoff and will stay open about an hour and a half after, Austin FC President Andy Loughnane said. It'll feature 16 beers on tap, including an assortment of local craft beers. The stadium will also have two Michelob Ultra bars near the Northeast Gate and on the 300 level near the Premium Terrace and will host a Bulleit Bar on the Porch.
- Beverages- The stadium will be dotted with alcoholic offerings from Diageo North America, which includes Captain Morgan, Bulleit Whiskey, Ketel One, Don Julio and Crown Royal, as well as Anheuser Busch, Heineken, Dos Equis and Austin Eastciders. Non-alcoholic options include Coca-Cola Products, C4 Energy and Waterloo Sparkling Water.
- Local Eats- We could go on all day about the food offerings at Q2 Stadium—and we did. From Valentina's Tex-Mex BBQ to T'Loc's Sonoran Hot Dogs, Austin FC worked to represent Austin by partnering with 512 Food Co. and loading the stadium up with as many local eats as possible. For a complete list of food options, including the iconic Queso Fountain, click here, and check out Austonia's food reviews of a few of the snacks that will be available come gameday.
- The Verde Store- Still not stocked up on Verde merch? The club's multi-story Verde Store can help. Located on the north side of the stadium, the store is packed with more Austin FC merchandise than anywhere else. Austin FC said that gameday hours will vary, but regular hours are from 10 a.m.-6 p.m. every day.
- The supporter's section- The South Side of Q2 Stadium is dedicated to its most loyal supporters. Thousands of Los Verdes and Austin Anthem members who have been waiting since 2017 will finally get their moment, and they won't skimp out on noise. La Murga de Austin, the club's fan band, will provide drum beats, brass numbers and chants throughout the match, and the stadium is designed specifically to amplify their sound. The supporter's section bleachers are adorned with giant ATX letters, and supporters are decorating their end with a giant tifo, or community banner, to commemorate the moment. Click here for five chants you should know before heading to the match.
8 p.m: What to know before the whistle blows
For those who haven't quite stayed up to date, here's a summary of the club's first eight weeks on the road as you prepare for some pre-match banter.
The club has racked up eight points in eight games toward their standings, putting them at ninth in Western Conference out of 13. That's not too shabby, according to Head Coach Josh Wolff, especially after a road stretch that saw multiple injuries and one and half games without Captain Alex Ring playing when he got a red card.
After a 2-0 loss to LAFC, Austin saw their breakout win against the Colorado Rapids with a 3-1 victory. It was midfielder Diego Fagundez who got in the first goal for the club, and he celebrated by throwing up an "LV" in honor of Los Verdes. Fagundez scored once again the following week against Minnesota and has solidified a starting spot in the midfield.
Cecilio Dominguez was the other breakout star in the Colorado match, scoring two goals back-to-back in a span of just 10 minutes to clinch the game. Dominguez is one of two Designated Players for the club, and he's recently been the striker at the front of Austin FC's lineup. Most recently, Dominguez broke a three-match scoring drought as he helped the club to a draw against Kansas City on June 12.
After beating Colorado, Austin FC went on to a 1-0 victory in Minnesota before crumbling in Kansas City and losing 2-1 to Wolff's former team. The club struggled to find its footing afterward and suffered several injuries, but they still scraped up a few draws to close out the grueling road stretch.
Now, Austin is upbeat from two draws against very good West Conference teams but has just 17 healthy players on its roster heading into the home opener.
Here's a projected starting lineup for the club:
Other players to know include Captain Alex Ring, who leads the midfield, and goalkeeper Brad Stuver, who has wowed crowds with his highlight-worthy saves week after week.
We're just as excited as you are to see the city's first professional team come to Austin, and we'll keep you updated on all things Austin FC as the club warms up for their first home match. Stay tuned on Austonia's Austin FC page and @austonianews on Twitter for live updates for Saturday's match.
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The holiday season is upon us, so get ready to celebrate with carols, snacks and light shows galore. Austin is full of holiday festivities spanning throughout all of December so get out and enjoy the cool weather while it lasts.
Don't miss these nine holiday-themed light shows.
Austin's most famous annual light show and a Readers Choice of USA Today's 10 Best Public Displays of Holiday Lights, the Trail of Lights will be drive-thru again this year Nov. 27-Dec. 31. For 57 years in a row, the Trail of Lights has lit up Zilker Park with games, food, local vendors and more than two million lights gleaming for the holidays. The event, as always, is free to the public and you can reserve slots here. The Zilker Tree is already up, so you can already see it if the holiday cheer is too much to bear.
Coming back for the second year in a row, Peppermint Parkway will transport you to COTALAND, where six million lights gleam and Christmas is just a one-mile drive away. The hybrid event will have you drive through the display of lights, dancing elves and unique little villages before you hit the walking plaza, where you can grab a bite to eat and meet Santa. Tickets range from $40-$95, some including a lap around the COTA track, running from Nov. 26-Dec. 26.
Dreamland Dripping Springs has been transformed into a winter wonderland—running throughout the month of December, the venue's first-ever holiday display is taking over with activities for the whole family. Plus, running from Nov. 20-Jan. 4, a pop-up ice skating rink will really bring the holiday cheer for $10 or $5 Monday specials. The lights display will feature half a million lights and warm, festive sips from the taproom.
With events galore for the holiday season, winter is really when the Hill Country Galleria thrives. Starting with its Light Up The Plaza event on Saturday from 6-8 p.m., where visitors can see Santa, gaze at the official lighting of the holiday tree and hear some live tunes from rock band American Authors. The Galleria will also hold a holiday market every Thursday, Friday and Saturday leading up to Christmas Eve and periodic photos with Santa at Buenos Aires Cafe.
Deck the Halls at the Driskill Hotel
(Courtesy of the Driskill Hotel)
This holiday season, the Driskill will deck out every nook and cranny of the historic hotel from the grand staircase to the 16-foot Christmas tree in the lobby to be lit on a Dec. 1 ceremony that will be open to the public. Touches of Driskill festivities can also be seen at Dell Children's Hospital with a gingerbread village for its annual "Cookies for Caring" event.
Kicking off the lighting of the tree on Saturday, Dec. 4, Austinites will gather on the steps of the Texas Capitol at 6 p.m. to sing the 45-foot tree to life. Afterward, local band Los Coast will close out the night with a free concert. The fun doesn't stop there though as the Downtown Austin Alliance will host the Downtown Holiday Stroll, with "holiday passports" and stamps to collect for local restaurants and stores, and a Frida Friday Holiday Market at Republic Square.
Combining festive holiday lights and the beautiful native plants of Central Texas, Luminations at the Wildflower Center is back with thousands of lights, luminarias and a lit-up look at Fortlandia. This year will also feature an interactive light maze called "silvana" by Ben Busche of architecture firm Brut Deluxe, which will be the maze's first appearance in North America. The event will run Thursdays-Sundays from Dec. 2-Jan. 30 for $10-$25 per person.
Reserved tables are back for Mozart's Coffee Roasters annual Christmas Lights Show for $20 four-person tables and $30 six-person tables—so get your tickets early because these tables are likely to sell out. The light show will also feature a festival-style Bavarian marketplace for those last-minute gifts. If you're too late to reserve a table, don't worry, there will be standing room available for free so come one, come all, and come early for parking.
From Dec. 2-4, Old Settlers Park will light up with holiday displays, family activities, festive refreshments and live music. Watch the balloons hover above the lake as you sip on a hot chocolate or give to those in need, with stands for Round Rock Operation Blue Santa, which is taking toys for kids in need, the Play For All Foundation, which is accepting cash donations for disabled children, and the People & Parks Foundation, accepting cash donations for green space in the community. Admission to the event is free, along with most of the activities in the park.
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In this season of gifts, giving, and gratitude, Tito's is making it easy to shop for your friends and loved ones while helping our community.
The beloved Austin company's Love, Tito's retail space, downtown at 215 Lavaca Street, is fully stocked with great gear. 100% of net proceeds of whatever you purchase—a new collar for your four-legged friend, a Tito's tee, some branded barware—go to the nonprofits they support. From the environment to animal rescue, you can choose your cause while choosing a new copper cocktail kit… or old school cap… or golf polo.
The store is stocked with stuff that the online experience just can't offer: never-before-seen swag, doggy photo booths (to say it's a dog-friendly space is an understatement), a record player to spin some tunes, and a bar finder listing local spots serving mean Tito's cocktails. Locals and out-of-town visitors alike can enjoy wonderful distractions while kicking back in an environment designed to cater to Tito's fans.
While you can't enjoy a cocktail there due to Texas liquor laws, the store offers unique experiences for any and all fans of the brand, and gives folks a chance to find what resonates with them while taking home a piece of the Tito's story.
*At our Love, Tito's store in Austin, net proceeds constitute an average margin of at least 25% of the retail price of a product, excluding the cost of tax on the purchase. We are not deducting cost of our people, the store rent or other operating costs.
NFTs, which are essentially unhackable codes used as one-of-a-kind "certificates of authenticity" paid for with cryptocurrency Ethereum, have been cropping up in the Austin art scene and worldwide—and they're quickly evolving into a sports fans' paradise as a new way to snag some bragging rights through digital trading cards, tickets and highlight reels.
Here are five Austin-based athletes and sports venues now involved in NFTs:
NiftyHorns—emerging Texas NFT producer
🚨🤘🏽Player Announcement!— Nifty Horns (@NiftyHorns) September 24, 2021
First up to the plate - a man who capped a scorching spring with postseason heroics in Omaha - from El Paso, TX…
Ivan Melendez! @ivanmelendez17_
NFT trading cards for the Hispanic Titanic will be available this fall as part of our first pack drop. pic.twitter.com/2xI3aMd6Tv
College sports' entrance to NFTs originally came from another Austin—a picture of Stephen F. Austin's women's basketball team as they made their first NCAA championship berth was the first to break into the market in March 2020.
Now with NCAA NIL rules in their favor, it's easier than ever for Texas athletes to cash in on their clout. The University of Texas' LEVERAGE Lineup looks to serve as a database to connect even walk-on Longhorn athletes—like Surly Horn's "Burnt Ends" tight ends deal—to lucrative sponsorship contracts.
But there hasn't yet been a database that gives each player their own Robinson-esque NFT trading card—until NiftyHorns stepped in with an NFT business model that they hope to one day have officially linked to the school.
They've already made headway with an NFT for Longhorns baseball player Ivan Melendez using the same blockchain utilized by TopShot.
"(We want to) not make it exclusive to star players or just the big three sports," NiftyHorns co-founder Josh Pitel said. "We feel very fortunate to be in a space where the fan base is large enough and passionate enough to actually support a wide variety of athletes."
Bijan Robinson—Candy.com trading card
With nearly 130,000 followers across Twitter and Instagram, Bijan Robinson is a star on and off the football field. He's used that clout to his advantage and partnered with Raising Cane's, Athletic Brewing and Centre Apparel.
And he's now following in the footsteps of NBA's TopShot with his very own NFT. Trading cards are a growing commodity in the NFT community, with TopShot raking in $700 million on cards, highlight reels and more last year.
Robinson's 100 Rare NFTs currently sit at $250 and feature a hero shot, his jersey number, position and an animated signature with a sleek, high-tech gold finish.
COTA NFTs—360 views and tickets too
Each of the two NFTs feature 360 views of different aspects of the COTA track. (Circuit of the Americas)
Back in October, Circuit of the Americas chairman Bobby Epstein appeared to embody his promise to make the 2021 U.S. Grand Prix the "biggest event on the planet this year" as an estimated 400,000 attendees made it through the gates for the Formula One weekend event.
To commemorate the event, the circuit decided to leap into the trendy NFT scene with two 360-degree panoramas, set at minimum bids of $30,000 each. And like many who look to tack on physical elements to the mystical crypto world, the circuit includes two VIP passes for MotoGP or Formula 1 events this year or next.
"Circuit of The Americas hosts some of the world's most iconic sports and entertainment events," Epstein said in a press release. "Just as visitors realize how unique and special COTA is, we know collectors will appreciate the significance behind our designs as well as the premium hospitality associated with the winning bids."
Campbell-Williams Field NFT Collection—a true UT NFT
Check out this dope project I did for the Campbell-Williams Field NFT Collection!— Bryson Williams (@artofbryson) September 11, 2021
Titled "Longhorn Legacies" Made in collaboration with @VybHouse and @Rickthelaureate
For more info check out https://t.co/XFr5gDSFta pic.twitter.com/SRCyWsjVqM
As the school's two Heisman Trophy winners, UT football legends Earl Campbell and Ricky Williams made sports history at their times as running backs for the Longhorns football team—and they encouraged others to become part of sports history themselves with a rare collection of 100 NFTs in honor of the renaming of the school's historic football stadium.
In collaboration with UT, Campbell and Williams created the collection a year after the Darrell K Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium was renamed in their honor. The "Campbell-Williams Field NFT Collection" included:
- The Campbell-Williams Experience NFT, which gives its owner two VIP tickets to the 2022 Super Bowl and Williams' Super Bowl 2022 party in Los Angeles,, dinner with Earl Campbell and friends and a 'UT Legend' memorabilia package.
- The ArtofBryson NFT, which included two tickets to The Red River Showdown (UT vs. Oklahoma) on Oct. 9, a Zoom call with both Williams and Campbell, signed cleats from current running back Robinson, and other care package add-ons.
- The Moon Ticket: six NFTs that grants its owners to an out-of-this-world astrology chat with Williams
- And the 100 trading-card style NFTs featuring artwork and both players' digital signatures.
USMNT—and their NFTs—come to Austin
As the U.S. Men's National Team headed to Austin's brand-new Q2 Stadium to play Jamaica in October, so did its Only Forward Art Series. This edition of the months-long series featured a poster design from Austin artist Phoebe "Feebee" Joynt.
Joynt incorporated her specialties in graphic design, street art and logo work to create the gameday poster, which was featured around town, at Austin FC's downtown store and online as an NFT.
"I was thrilled to work with FootyCon and U.S. Soccer," FeeBee told the USMNT. "I've always had a passion for soccer after being introduced to the sport by my dad as a young child and I'm so excited to create a piece inspired by the game that also references and is in dialogue with the amazing city of Austin that I call home."
The rare free NFT became available to all fans attending the Oct. 7 World Cup Qualifier as well as via purchase on the NTWRK app the day before the game.
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