AUSTIN (KXAN) — Fans are gearing up and heading out for the first-ever World Cup qualifier to be held in Texas. The U.S. Men’s National team hosts Jamaica Thursday at 6:30 p.m. CT at Austin FC’s Q2 Stadium for the fourth of 14 qualifiers ahead of the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar.
It’s not just soccer fans from Austin, or even Texas, that are packing into Q2 Stadium Thursday, though. The event is drawing people from across the country.
“It’s great for our city from a tourism perspective,” said Drew Hays, director of the Austin Sports Commission. “The Men’s National Team was here back in July and we saw ticket sales from out of market be about 35% for that game, so we’re expecting about the same thing for this match this evening.”
One of those people who visited Austin back in July was Donald Wine, who came to Austin from Washington, D.C.
Wine was back in town this week for the qualifier game. He’s a member of American Outlaws, a national soccer fan club that has a chapter in Austin.
“You name a city, someone is here from there,” Wine said. “I’m from D.C., we have people from Nebraska, California, Seattle, Washington, Michigan, Florida. We have people from everywhere here.”
Those people, from outside of the state and from other parts of Texas, bring money to the Austin economy, which is especially important following a year where large events and travel was brought to a screeching halt by the pandemic.
“You can always expect people will be out eating in our restaurants or being at our nightlife establishments or staying in all of our local hotels,” Hays said. He added that people visiting Austin often leads them to visit again in the future.
Below is a map of all of the American Outlaws chapters.
Austin American Outlaws hosted a tailgate at Oskar Blues near Q2 Stadium before the game kicked off Thursday evening. At that event were people from Omaha, Nebraska to Denver, Colorado.
October is overall a busy month for Austin tourism. Austin City Limits brings swarms of people to our city to celebrate two weekends of live music.
At the end of the month, Formula 1 US Grand Prix will be at at Circuit of the Americas. A spokesperson from Airbnb says it had a nearly 30% increase in searches for Austin accommodations during that weekend.
“Austin’s known for their live music but right now we’re kind of having some momentum behind sports as well,” Hays said.