What's New With the Austin Sports Commission?

Austin

There’s a lot new going on with the Austin (Texas) Sports Commission, beginning with Executive Director Lance Aldridge and Account Director Matt Motl. Aldridge and Motl recently marked their one-year anniversaries on the job. There’s plenty more to celebrate in the Texas capital, including the PGA Tour, US Corporate Games, NAGAAA Gay Softball World Series and USA Rugby. However, don’t expect the pair to rest on their laurels. Connect Sports talked with the two about focusing on what’s new and next.  

On new venues…

“We’re kind of at a crossroads with the basketball arena on campus at The University of Texas at Austin in the process of [being torn down] in the next four to five years,” says Aldridge. “The new Dell Medical School is going there. So Matt and I are transitioning our roles and focusing on venues quite a bit.” The duo says they’re actively lobbying for new venues. 

We’ve got a new Nland Surf Park coming in, which is the only inland surf park in North America,” says Motl. “It’s kind of like a wave garden—a controlled continuous wave for surfing competitions. It’s not only the sporting community that will feel the impact of the venue, but also the film and TV community. They won’t have to wait for the perfect wave. There is one every 30 seconds.”

On emerging sports…

“We’ve talked to The University of Texas Quidditch club team. They’ve won the national championship for the last three years,” says Aldridge, who’d like to eventually host the US Quidditch Cup.

“Rugby is another sport we’re going after. The thing about Austin is we keep it weird down here, so any kind of fringe sport we can get, we like,” adds Motl.

On new events…

“Our CVB looks to us to plug specific holes on the calendar,” says Aldridge. “We’ve got NAGAAA Gay Softball World Series and the US Corporate Games this summer, and Amateur Sports Alliance of North America next summer.”

On a new approach… When USA Rugby played Canada in a domestic tour, Austin was one of the stops. “They came to us with venue specs and it just so happened I used to work for the baseball team at Dell Diamond [Minor League Baseball park], says Motl. I said, “I think I know the place for you.” During the site visit the NGO thought it was a perfect venue. Austin got good ESPN 2 coverage and Motl caught the replay the next day to discover they had close to 8,000 people attend. “Like I said, rugby is kind of an emerging sport for us. Especially in Texas, we love our football, so any contact sport you can get us into…”