By Garrett McGinley
Web Content Contributor
As I sat at home Tuesday night, half paying attention to the MLB All-Star Game, a thought came to me that I couldn’t shake: Austin doesn’t have any professional sports teams. Now obviously I already knew this, but I had thought about how odd it is. How could the 11th largest city in the United States not have one pro sports team to represent them?
This isn’t to say Austin is completely devoid of sports teams. Locals often joke that the University of Texas Longhorns is the city’s pro team, and there is a kernel of truth to that. Austin adores its Longhorns. Texas athletics made a staggering $182.1 million in 2017. UT also boasts its own ESPN affiliate network, as well as, the ninth largest stadium in the world. Outside of UT, there are a smattering of minor-league teams across the city.
But college and minor league sports are not professional, and the differences between them are more than just semantics. So, this leaves Texas’ cultural hub of almost one million people a barren, pro team-less wasteland. But that changes now! Whether they want it or not, I am commissioning myself to create Austin its very own pro team to encapsulate it’s weird, eclectic, not-at-all try hard spirit.
A 2015 study by the American City Business Journal found that Austin could financially support an NFL, NBA, NHL or MLS team. They even specifically identify Austin as potential city the NBA may look to expand to in the future. So, we’ll go with that. Austin’s young and diverse demographic meshes perfectly with the modern NBA.
Perhaps the biggest hang up on bringing any sports team to Austin is the lack of space to build new stadiums in the downtown area. The city does already have the Austin Spurs, an NBA G-League team. But the Spurs play in Cedar Park at the H-E-B Center, which has a capacity of 8,000 people which is far too low for an NBA team. There is also the Frank Erwin Center, which has a much more palpable capacity of approximately 16,500. However, this building is owned by the University of Texas and is also going to be demolished and relocated in the next few years. For the sake of my fiction, the Frank Erwin Center will have to do for now. The team will play at Frank Erwin until a new publicly financed arena is built. The construction of this new I-10 accessible stadium will make already horrendous city traffic 10 times worse.
Anthony Precourt, CEO of Precourt Sport Ventures, abandons his dream of moving his MLS team Columbus Crew to Austin, sells his ownership shares of the team and instead throws all of energy and disgusting amounts of money into starting an NBA franchise in the city. When the league approves the new franchise, Precourt is named the owner. Precourt names his team the Austin Governors, with Texas flag red, white and blue as the team colors. The world collectively rolls their eyes at this.
Based on how Precourt ran the Crew, the Govenors could have a chance of success. Maybe he’ll hire some analytic tech bro to be its general manager. If the first Govenors season is in 2018, then I predict they will win a title by 2030.