Things are looking up, Austin FC fans.
With the Q2 Stadium and the St. David's Performance Center both on track to be completed by late March or early April, Austin FC is looking forward to the possibility of "large crowds" for their home opener, Austin FC President Andy Loughnane said.
In an announcement on Monday, Loughnane gave an update on COVID protocol, ticketing and construction progress ahead of the team's first season.
Loughnane said that although there has been no definitive protocol, the team is looking to host plenty of fans for their first-ever home game against the San Jose Earthquakes on June 19.
"While we are not quite yet in position to provide a definitive answer given the changing (and hopefully improving) conditions, I speak on behalf of our entire organization when I share that it is our hope to be in position to consider safely hosting a large crowd for our home opener on June 19," Loughnane said. "And given that our first home match is scheduled for a date that is over three months away from today, Austin FC has the unique benefit of continuing to be observant and patient as conditions and protocols evolve around us."
As they continue to monitor the pandemic in the coming months, fans will have something new to look forward to: guided stadium tours. With COVID restrictions relaxing, Loughnane said that season ticket holders, fans and partners can look forward to a fluid tour schedule before the home opener.
Both stadium construction and ticket announcements are still on schedule as well. Loughnane said that the team is still planning on releasing ticketing information on the home opener between May 19 and 24, alongside general single match tickets for regular-season home matches. While nothing is set in stone, Loughnane said that season ticket holders can plan on having access to the home opener vs. San Jose. If the stadium opens at 100% capacity, approximately 5,000 single match tickets will be available to the public per match, and Loughnane recommends looking to join the Waitlist Membership to stay updated.
While the stadium's completion is on the horizon, some finishing touches and offsite projects are still in the works. Loughnane said that the site is in position to reach a certificate of occupancy within the coming weeks, but here's some things that still need work:
- Installation of new traffic signals on both Burnet and Braker
- Development of the "Bright Verde Way" a vehicle and pedestrian road that will connect to Burnet
- Installation of directional signs on surrounding roadways
- Installing furniture and specialty signs which will be worked on throughout April and May
Unfortunately, even Loughnane has not been briefed on the rest of Austin FC's season schedule, but he hopes to find out in the next 10-14 days. Around 10 days after the announcement, Loughnane said he hopes the team will be able to release broadcast information for each match.
"We know you are very anxious to learn the dates of the remaining 31 regular season matches that have yet to be announced … and I know Claudio and Josh are equally as eager," Loughnane said. "As much as I wish I was in position to share a solid projection for the release of a full schedule announcement, I don't have an exact date just yet (although I do hope it can be released in the next 10-14 days)."
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With major entertainment events slated for October, the Austin-Bergstrom International Airport is gearing up for a busy month.
Artists and music lovers are set to pack into Zilker Park for The Austin City Limits Music Festival in the coming two weekends. Following that, Formula One will bring racing fans to the Circuit of the Americas.
For those two events, the airport is anticipating high passenger days with 30,000 or more people departing flights.
ABIA recommends arriving at least two and a half hours in advance for domestic flights on those days. For ACL, it's expected on both Sundays of the festival along with the Monday and Tuesday after. The F1-driven high passenger days are expected on Oct. 20-21 and Oct. 23-26.
\u201c#AustinCityLimits visitors, you\u2019re in for a weird and wild ride \ud83e\udd18\u262e\ufe0f \n\nFlying in or out of our airport? We got firm and fun tips for you: https://t.co/RawVRalOXN\u201d— Austin-Bergstrom International Airport (AUS) (@Austin-Bergstrom International Airport (AUS)) 1664894083
F1, especially, could draw in loads of travelers as the three-day event saw 400,000 attendees last year. ABIA warns that highways leading to the airport may see even higher traffic than usual around the event and that travelers should plan their route accordingly.
Bailey Grimmett, a spokesperson for ABIA, said travel numbers come in 24 hours in advance. So, it's hard to predict if the airport will see travel volumes at the same levels that have happened around previous F1 races or if it'll top ACL's flight traffic.
Still, she says historical knowledge points to a chance for it.
“We've had that Monday after F1 break the record for single busiest in airport history," Grimmett said. "So context clues I would say yes, but I can't confirm that. But the historical background points to that."
In anticipation of the high volume of flyers, the airport received additional TSA officers for security screening through the end of October. To prepare even further, the Department of Aviation and partners hosted a job showcase and hiring fair to address the continued labor shortage the airport has experienced.
Relief from hectic travel days is on the horizon with November likely to see a slowdown.
"I don't anticipate it will be as busy as October just because we don't have as many events going on," Grimmett said. "Thanksgiving is kind of our primary holiday that we see a lot of passengers coming in and out of the airport."