3.15 Andy Blog Post

A Note From President Andy Loughnane on Progress and Next Steps

Now that Major League Soccer has announced dates for 3 of our 34 regular season matches, including our historic Q2 Stadium home opener on June 19, I’d like to share a few important progress updates and projected next steps as I know many of you are eager to begin making plans for our inaugural season.

As a starting point: we are very proud to announce that Q2 Stadium remains on schedule to be substantially completed in the last few days of March or the first few days April. Additional finishing touches will continue throughout April and May as we install furniture and integrate various specialty signage elements, but the notable update is that Q2 Stadium remains in position to receive a certificate of occupancy in the next two to three weeks, pending a successful conclusion of the permitting process. There are a few key additional offsite improvement projects, each of which has a direct impact on Q2 Stadium operations, that will eventually be completed on surrounding property after the stadium is substantially completed. Examples of this offsite work include installation of new traffic signals on both Burnet and Braker, development of a critical Q2 Stadium vehicle/pedestrian road that will be named “Bright Verde Way” that is being built on private land just west Q2 Stadium (soon to be accessible from Burnet), and the installation of Q2 Stadium directional signage on various surrounding roadways. Each of the aforementioned off-property improvement examples are scheduled to be completed prior to our inaugural home opener on June 19.

Construction progress is equally as impressive at St. David’s Performance Center. Our world-class, four-and-a-half pitch training facility in Northeast Austin is also slated to be substantially completed in late March / early April. Our scheduled move into St. David’s Performance Center will represent a major milestone in the buildout of our Club culture, and both our First Team and Academy Teams will soon be in position to train at St. David’s Performance Center.

The forecasted on-time completion of both Q2 Stadium and St. David’s Performance Center has been made possible by the extraordinary efforts of our City of Austin partners, our construction partners, and our construction workers. We are forever grateful for their contributions in creating world class facilities under some of the most difficult conditions in recent memory.

Before we address next-steps related to our regular season schedule, I do want to highlight that we would love for our fans, season ticket members, partners, and neighbors to have the opportunity to visit Q2 Stadium for tours prior to our June 19 home opener. A (fluid) schedule of Q2 Stadium tour opportunities & invitations will be systematically rolled-out as health protocols evolve (and as our part-time and full-time staff members become acclimated to our beautiful new home).

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. 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). In follow-up to that TBD announcement, I would then expect that approximately 10 days later we’ll be in position to share the broadcast assignments for each regionally broadcasted match. At this point, we know that our first regionally broadcasted match will be on Saturday, April 24 vs. Colorado (our first match vs. LAFC on April 17 will be nationally televised on FOX and FOX Deportes).

The number one question we are hearing from our fans is “what will Q2 Stadium capacity be for our June 19 home opener?”. 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. And given that our first home match is scheduled for a date is 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. We recognize we are asking for continued patience in what has been a long period of anticipation since Austin FC was formed and a long period of unease since COVID-19 changed our lives. However, we are hopeful that you will understand that it might be a bit haphazard to either under-estimate or over-estimate any projected capacity figures for a mid-June match. We believe our accuracy will be vastly improved by taking a more patient approach to spend additional time observing conditions throughout April and May.

It is our current intent to begin communicating initial Austin FC ticketing protocols for June 19 vs. San Jose on a TBD date between May 19 and May 24. This estimated timetable will provide Austin FC season ticket members with approximately four to five weeks of advance notice to receive what we believe will be our initial protocols for our very first regular season home match at Q2 Stadium. I do want to emphasize that given the fluidity and magnitude of our current environment, any preliminary notification we plan to make in late May will be subject to modification as we grow closer to June 19. Until such time that we can communicate our initial guidance on projected protocols for June 19 vs. San Jose, we are encouraging season ticket members to plan on having access to attend the home opener.

Initial on-sale estimates for single match tickets for Austin FC regular season home matches will also be shared in a similar May 19 – May 24 timetable. For context, we anticipate being able to distribute approximately 5,000 single match tickets / per match for any match that can be played with 100% stadium capacity. For those interested in purchasing single match tickets to an Austin FC home match, we strongly encourage you to explore joining our Waitlist Membership (see here for the overview of Oak Collective benefits) and we also encourage you to download the SeatGeek mobile app so you are enabled to acquire, share and utilize Austin FC tickets.

We’ve received inquiries about away tickets being made available to Austin FC supporters for our first ever road matches vs. LAFC on April 17 and Colorado Rapids on April 24. As much as we’d like to provide universal guidance on protocols that are applicable in all cities and venues that we’ll visit across 2021, ticketing information for visiting team supporters will vary by jurisdiction. For example, our opening match in Los Angeles on April 17 vs. LAFC is likely to feature capacity restrictions that would limit ticket purchases to California residents only. We would like to provide information and assistance to those who want to safely travel and safely support Austin FC on the road, and please know we are actively tracking these opportunities on your behalf (even though information may not yet be available).

We also know that fans are asking about traffic plans for June 19 vs. San Jose, and this is another important part of our pre-planning workstream. Currently, we intend to hold additional meetings with various public and private entities across the next four to six weeks, and we remain hopeful to begin publicly communicating our initial transit options in mid-to-late April. As with all events that occur in Austin, our plan will continue to evolve with knowledge and feedback. As much we all expect our traffic plan to be effective given the multi-agency collaboration that has occurred across the last two years, it almost assuredly is not going to be perfect on day one and we are hopeful that you will assist us with feedback to allow our planning partners the opportunity to try and make improvements. For example, we know our plans will naturally evolve as mobility options are expanded – most notably the eventual addition of a new Capital Metro Red Line station immediately adjacent to Q2 Stadium.

Hopefully, our updates and directional timing insights are helpful as we approach the launch of our inaugural season and the opening of Q2 Stadium and St. David’s Performance Center. Thank you for your time and thank you very much for your support of Austin FC. We are almost there…