AUSTIN (KXAN) – Austin FC has almost been as hot as the temperatures. With 13 wins out of 23 games this season, the team has taken a massive leap over last season. They’re doing it all during what could turn out to be the hottest summer on record. With the heat not likely ending anytime soon, the club is taking steps to keep the fans and players cool.
Due to the consistent heat during matches, fans have been flocking to the stadium’s water stations all summer. Fans have been bringing water bottles to use at these stations which have proven to be a huge asset. Austin FC fan Derek Fowler talked to us about just how helpful the water stations have been.
“We probably do this about twice a game, have to come in and fill up. It keeps you hydrated. Keeps you feeling good,” said Fowler.
But there’s more to keeping cool at Q2 than just being able to fill up your water bottle for free. Austin FC President Andy Loughnane says the stadium was designed with air circulation in mind.
“We’ve built a stadium with open corners,” Loughnane said, “there’s almost always a cool breeze, which is you know, this natural air conditioning effect.”
Breathable seats at Q2 stadium
When you come to Q2 Stadium, you’re probably going to be sitting in the standard seats unless your seat is located in an area that gets more sunshine. For that, there are 6,000 breathable mesh seats designed to keep you cool by only warming to five degrees above the air temperature.
Above those seats is a roof canopy that is one of the largest at any Major League Soccer stadium.
If a game temperature and humidity level reach specific criteria, players are allowed a 90-second water break at the 30 and 75-minute marks. Referees have the discretion to add additional water breaks if conditions warrant.
Fans and the Texas heat
Still, the heat isn’t keeping the fans away. One fan discussed how they’ve been coping with the heat. “I just don’t think about it. Just keep jumping, keep chanting. Keep the vibe going,” the fan said.
Loughnane says that the effects of the heat haven’t been all bad. “Warm days tend to actually drive attendance,” Loughnane said.
Some people make the heat part of the overall fan experience. Logan, a member of the Austin FC faithful, has found a way to use the heat to make his time more enjoyable.
“We call it beer showers, but it’s really just water showers in this heat,” he said. “It’s just throwing up water and half the time I’m just pouring it on my head,” Logan said.
To keep the game temperature down, Austin FC has asked MLS for the later 8 p.m. kickoff slot unless it conflicts with a nationally televised game.