Sports Business Journal (SBJ) announced this week Austin FC as a nominee for 2022 Sports Team of the Year, an award which honors best in class organizations that demonstrate excellence, influence, innovation, and creativity in the business practices of operating a sports franchise.
“It is a great honor for our Club to be amongst those considered to be best-in-class across the major league sports community,” said Austin FC President Andy Loughnane. “This nomination is a testament to the strength of our community and a deserving recognition for those who have worked tirelessly to help grow Austin FC.”
Austin FC is the only Major League Soccer club to be nominated for SBJ’s 2022 Sports Team of the Year Award and is one of six nominees in total alongside the NBA’s Golden State Warriors and Milwaukee Bucks, the MLB’s Atlanta Braves, the NFL’s Los Angeles Rams, and the NHL’s Tampa Bay Lightning. Four (4) of the six (6) teams nominated won their respective championship during their most recently completed season (Braves, Bucks, Lightning, and Rams).
Prior to the start of the 2021 season, Austin FC completed construction on two new, state-of-the-art venues, including one of the premier North American soccer venues in Q2 Stadium at a cost of $260 million. In recognition of its commitment to sustainability, Q2 Stadium achieved LEED Gold Certification in November of 2021 and was a Recipient of 2021 Venues Now All-Star Venue Award.
In addition, the Club also finished construction on St. David’s Performance Center, a $45 million, privately-financed, 23-acre complex which is now the training home of Austin FC’s first team and the Austin FC Academy teams. St. David’s Performance Center features four full-sized pitches, a single-story, 30,000-square-foot building which houses Austin FC players, soccer operations and technical staff and Academy players, as well as training and medical technologies, including advanced cardio and physio equipment, recovery rooms, water therapy and cryogenics.
Austin FC and Q2 Stadium quickly made their presence felt after launching in 2021, hosting four (4) international matches, including appearances from the U.S. Women’s National Team, the U.S. Men’s National Team, and the Mexican Men’s National Team all in a single calendar year.
Austin FC was the only MLS club to sell-out 100% of its matches in 2021, a streak that has continued in to 2022 and remains the longest active sellout streak in MLS.
In addition to having the highest social media engagement rate among any team in North America’s top five major sports leagues, Austin FC also led MLS in merchandise sales and ranked second in sponsorship sales in 2021. A credit to the world-class fan experience on display at Q2 Stadium, the venue was rated by the MLS Players Association as the second-best stadium atmosphere in MLS. Supporting that sentiment, Austin FC season tickets were renewed at a rate of 96% in 2022.
Through the club’s charitable wing 4ATX Foundation, Austin FC partnered with Austin Pets Alive! to showcase dogs up for adoption as honorary mascots at each home game throughout the 2021 season. 18 of the 18 dogs were adopted and found forever homes as a result of the partnership. In addition to raising $829,537 for community initiatives through the “A Night in Verde” Gala, 4ATX Foundation has also installed a new state-of-the-art mini soccer pitch in Civitan Neighborhood Park in the east Austin neighborhood of Montopolis. The Civitan Park mini-pitch is the third of its kind which 4ATX Foundation has helped install in the greater Austin area since 2019.
One of the most prestigious industry awards, the Team of the Year winner will be determined by a panel of judges, including sports industry executives and representatives of Sports Business Journal. The results of the vote will be announced at the Sports Business Awards in New York City on Wednesday, May 18.