Construction of Austin FC Stadium Nears Completion
Q2 claims naming rights for the home of Austin’s new major league sports team
As we move closer to the beginning of the Major League Soccer season, construction at the new Austin FC stadium, located just southeast of the Domain shopping center, progresses at a healthy pace.
"We're right at about 85% complete," Austin FC President Andy Loughnane told us in mid-January. "Construction is forecast to be complete by the March-April date that we targeted back in the fall when construction began."
And, as of Monday, the stadium has a new name: Q2 Stadium. The Austin-based Q2, a digital banking company, will hold long-term stadium naming rights.
What the new stadium doesn't have yet is an opening day. Amid ongoing COVID-19 concerns, MLS pushed the start of the 2021 season to April 3, and Loughnane stressed that staff training and other operational necessities will have to happen prior to gameplay. "We expect to host our first game after necessary measures are completed, which includes work outside of Austin FC's control," he said. The plan has always been for the team's first matches to take place on the road.
A major aspect of the stadium plan is focused on public transportation options and ensuring fans have hassle-free options to and from the venue. "Austin FC and Capital Metro have been collaborating with putting a Red Line station adjacent to the stadium, and we're pleased with the progress," Loughnane added. He also said that they continue to make progress with designated on-site and off-site parking spaces. The 835 planned parking spaces doesn't seem up to the job of a venue with a capacity exceeding 20,000; it remains to be seen how the developers intend to address the all-but-guaranteed overflow crowd of vehicles.
Aside from the parking situation, the comfort of attendees seems to be a point of pride for Austin FC and a major reference point for the design and amenities of the stadium. From its metal-decking canopy coverage to breathable mesh seats in lower East sections where the sun will hit hardest (no more fourth quarter swamp ass!), much of the design is focused on fan accommodation.
The structure will also house a number of indoor/outdoor social areas. This includes a beer hall with a 400-person capacity that will provide an air-conditioned space, a television wall, food, and 18 taps. There will also be East and West clubs that will provide specific areas and sights for their respective members, as well as all-inclusive food and beverage. These spaces will also be available for event rentals on non-match days.
Loughnane said the stadium would permanently change Austin's profile. "The city is now participating on the national stage in the world of sports in a way that the city has never quite seen, going toe-to-toe with cities such as Chicago or L.A."