We all need a little escapism even in the best of times—certainly these days—and sports have always scored big on that field.
The roaring crowds, mile-long concession lines and heady weekend tailgates in the parking lot are mostly gone for the year, but that doesn't mean you can't cheer your guts out for your favorite teams.
Some, like local baseball, are canceled or winding up their seasons. And others, like college women's basketball, are as-yet unscheduled.
We find ourselves in an interesting fall championship game line up with pro baseball entering an extended season, minor league soccer having its postseason championships, and hockey and basketball in delayed finals seasons (that we'd normally be enjoying in the spring and early summer), it's an exciting time to be a fan!
Here are some ways to safely get your Texas sports fix right now—and the escape we're all craving.
Football starts in earnest this month for the NFL and some universities. Because the pandemic didn't do much to disrupt the season, timing-wise (except for the canceled preseason), not much will change for those who watched from their couches.
The Dallas Cowboys' NFL season starts on Sept. 13, but the first home game is slated for Sept. 20 against the Atlanta Falcons at noon. Catch it on FOX, or if you're in North Texas, limited tickets and suite rentals are available at AT&T Stadium in Arlington
The Houston Texans' virtual kickoff happened on Sept. 3, with Texans players, coaches, celebrities and more. If you missed it, you can catch the archive here. The season started on Thursday, Sept. 10, but the the first home game happens on Sunday, Sept. 20 against the Baltimore Ravens at 3:25 p.m. at NRG stadium. Limited tickets and suites are available.
The Big 12 season is on! UT's first game, a match up at home against UT-El Paso, happens 7 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 12. But the first official Big 12 conference game is set for Sept. 26 against the Texas Tech Raiders. You can catch Longhorn Network games—including the season opener—on ESPN or stream them online. Some fans can also go to games at Darrell K Royal Texas Memorial Stadium on the UT-Austin campus, which is only allowing a 25% capacity crowd at this time.
Major League Baseball ends its regular 60-game season on Sept. 27 and then prepares for an extended 16-team playoff season—which some are thinking could include the Houston Astros. Check out this link to stream MLB games online.
The Houston Astros' season has begun, and while they are allowing no fans in the Minute Maid Park for the games— they are making it easy to watch them on TV and online. Next game is at 7:07 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 12 against the LA Dodgers.
The Texas Rangers, like their MLB counterparts in Houston, continue their season on Saturday against the Oakland A's at 4:05 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 12. Like the other MLB franchises, they won't be playing to any crowds—with no in-person attendance at Globe Life Park in Arlington—but they're easy to find online.
You can listen to them on the radio here.
The NBA's conference semifinals are underway, with the final matchup series set to start on Sept. 30. We're used to baseball and football championships in the fall and winter, but this is a bonus. There is no in-person seating but you can register for a chance to be a "virtual" fan here.
And while the Dallas Mavericks' season came to an end on Aug. 30 with a loss to the L.A. Clippers, there's still another Texas team to watch.
You can catch the Rockets against the L.A. Lakers in their second match-up of the series on ESPN at 7 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 12. Or register for a chance to be a virtual fan and take home viewing to a whole 'nother level.
We'd normally be watching the NHL conference finals in the late spring and early summer, but the pandemic took care of that—and now we get to pile the Stanley Cup championships onto our high-stakes fall season.
The Dallas Stars
The Dallas Stars are on the short list for the cup this year, facing the Vegas Golden Knights in the Western Conference finals, with Game 4 set for Saturday, Sept. 12.
The season is set to wind up with the Stanley Cup finals tentatively set for early October. Tickets to stadium watch parties are sold out but you can watch on FOX Sports Southwest or the Fox Sports GO app.
We have to wait until spring for Austin's new Major League Soccer team, the Austin FC, to start playing at McKalla Place —but you can still enjoy some exciting Austin soccer.
The University of Texas Longhorns soccer Big 12 season gets underway on Friday night, Sept. 10 with new guidelines issued for in-person attendance at the school's Mike A. Meyers Stadium. Watch them on the Longhorns Network.
Austin Bold FC
The United Soccer League is ending its season in early October, and our own Austin Bold FC team is angling for a spot in the USL post-season championship playoffs next month. Their next scheduled game is at 8 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 12 against the Rio Grande Valley Toros. You can watch them on ESPN+ or app.
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Despite a 2-0 deficit, there was a pot of gold for Austin FC after all as it celebrated its annual Pride Night with rainbows and a 2-2 comeback draw to FC Dallas Saturday night.
After three FC Dallas losses last season, the Dallas derby draw marks the first time Austin FC has tied against its Copa Texas rival. Austin continues to edge over FC Dallas as it sits at 3rd in the MLS West.
Here are the biggest takeaways from the match:
A somber start
Decked out in colorful hues for LBGTQ+ Pride, Verde fans started the match on a somber note as they held up banners to take a stand against gun violence before the match.
As the national anthem began, fans held up banners with the names of each child that was killed in the Uvalde school shooting and a plea to "end gun violence."
The supporters' section was also dotted with Pride flags and a "Bans off Our Bodies" banner in protest of the Supreme Court's decision to overturn Roe v. Wade.
FC Dallas earns a 2-0 lead
That sober tone continued onto the pitch. With midfielder Daniel Pereira's absence due to a red card, the Verde and Black lost two goals to FC Dallas by the 70th minute of play.
FC Dallas played it sneaky for the first half of the match, giving Austin FC plenty of room to hold possession as it waited to strike on a Verde error. That mentality proved dangerous for Austin as Dallas' Paul Arriola took advantage of Brad Stuver's deflection to score the first goal of the night in the 57th minute of play.
Dallas struck once more as Brandon Servant pushed past the Verde line to score the second goal of the match.
Austin FC strikes back
But energy quickly returned to Austin's favor thanks to Designated Player Sebastian Driussi, who scooted past several FC Dallas defenders alongside Moussa Djitte to snag an unlikely first goal for Austin.
A full Verde comeback
Austin's subs proved deadly as momentum returned to the home team toward the end of the match. A well-placed cross from Nick Lima—and a diving header from a fresh-legged Danny Hoesen—helped the team secure the draw with a second Verde goal in the 84th minute of play.
Hoesen, who was Austin's first starting striker last season, has now scored two goals with the team after a yearlong injury stuck him on the bench.
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Hours following the U.S. Supreme Court's ruling to overturn Roe v. Wade, the landmark ruling that guaranteed a constitutional right to an abortion, on Friday, about 1,000 people gathered in Republic Square with signs calling for change.
The rally, organized by the group Rise Up 4 Abortion Rights Texas, started at the federal courthouse on Republic Square on Friday at 5 p.m. before the crowd marched to the Texas Capitol. More protests are expected to ensue over the weekend.
People showed up with all types of signs like Mindy Moffa holding up, "Keep your filthy laws off my silky drawers."
Austin joined cities across the country that saw protests for a women's right to an abortion after the ruling.
According to a recent UT poll, 78% of Texas voters support abortion access in most cases.
Sabrina Talghade and Sofia Pellegrini held up signs directed at Texas laws. A Texas trigger law will ban all abortions from the moment of fertilization, starting 30 days after the ruling. When state legislators passed the trigger law last summer, it also passed laws for more protection of firearms, including the right to open carry without a permit.
Lili Enthal of Austin yells as around 1,000 Texans marched to the Texas Capitol.
From the Texas Capitol, Zoe Webb lets her voice be heard against the Supreme Court ruling.
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