AUSTIN (KXAN) — The World Cup is underway this week as soccer fans fill up bars around Austin to watch the sporting spectacle.
On Monday afternoon, plenty of people packed into B.D. Riley’s Irish Pub to watch the United States men’s national team draw 1-1 with Wales.
Steve Basile is one of the co-owners, who was impressed with the attendance at his bar in the Mueller neighborhood.
“These fans don’t care about the time of day, weather or rain,” he said. “They are fanatic in every sense of the word.”
This marks the first time the World Cup has been held in the winter.
Basile said this will bring a boost to his business.
“This is a time of year where there’s a bit of a slowdown usually,” he said. “So, this is an unexpected boost this time of year.”
With Team USA back on soccer’s biggest stage for the first time in over eight years, some folks tried to work remotely and watch the game.
Others such as soccer superfan Steven Wilson took off work altogether.
“Block off your business calendar and hope you’re working with people that understand you’re a soccer fan,” he said.
Starting around 11 a.m. on Monday, soccer fans were lining up outside of B.D. Riley’s for the match that kicked off at 1 p.m. Central Time.
“The soccer fandom in the city has grown dramatically,” Basile said. “We are truly a soccer city.”
“You can just tell the excitement with Austin FC here now,” Wilson said. “B.D. Riley’s has also become a soccer club destination for people that are trying to watch games.”
Across town at The Pitch in northeast Austin, Sophia Arenaz endured through wet weather conditions to root for the Stars and Stripes.
“It’s just pure excitement,” she said. “It kind of warms you up. “
With school out for Thanksgiving break, the Round Rock resident plans on watching the World Cup with her brother Travis.
“You know it’s been eight years since the U.S. played in the World Cup,” Travis said. “This is our first time getting to have a real memory of watching.”
Throughout the entirety of the World Cup, The Pitch will open at 9 a.m. on early morning match days.
During the tournament, B.D. Riley’s will open its doors at 1 p.m. for games. Starting Dec. 3, the sports bar will start showing knockout stage games at all times.