Austin’s most well-known spokesperson and possible future gubernatorial candidate Matthew McConaughey sat down with MLS Commissioner Don Garber to talk about Austin soccer, the changing landscape of the sport, and how Austin FC will play a role in the sport’s rising popularity in America.
MLS features the youngest, most diverse, millennial, and tech-forward fan base of any North American sport. During the past quarter century, MLS has changed the North American soccer landscape with new markets, state-of-the-art soccer stadiums and content connecting with millennial and Gen Z fans. The League continues to push what it means to be at the intersection of sports and culture. In this session, MLS Commissioner, Don Garber, and Austin FC’s Minister of Culture and part-owner, Matthew McConaughey, will discuss how the League is deepening fan engagement, and how Clubs are becoming cultural mainstays. #SoccerCulture
This session was about much more than soccer. McConaughey spoke at length about the identity of Austin.
“Look, we don’t have Niagara Falls. We don’t have Disney World. We don’t have these places that are tourist destinations,” he explained to Commissioner Garber. “What you have in Austin, the DNA of Austin, the core of Austin, which makes it so great, is the people. The people make up the vibe.”
When asked why he chose to invest in Austin FC, McConaughey said that he’s currently looking for “legacy choices” in his life. The Minister of Culture wants to invest in things that will not just last through the next year or the next 10 years, but hopefully become something he can pass on to future generations.
Speaking about how the city of Austin will connect with the sport of fútbol, AKA soccer, McConaughey went on to say this: “Austin is a city where the future is still in front of us. It’s a game where the future is still in front of us. It’s an emerging city, an emerging game. It’s a disruptive city, a disruptive game (in America now). Austin is young and diverse. That’s fútbol. That’s soccer.”
So how does the identity of Austin translate into the identity of Austin soccer and Austin FC?
McConaughey wants the club to be synonymous with the city and the city to be synonymous with Austin FC. “We want the club to be the flag bearer for Austin – inside and outside the sport,” he explained. “It’s a great connector and Austin is a city that at its best is very connecting.”
He’s got big aspirations for that connection.
My hope is that if you take a snapshot of the stadium – when you zoom in, it should look like all the rich and diverse pieces of Austin in one stadium. Now we’re creating a destination for all the different communities in Austin to come together.Matthew McConaughey
We’ll have to wait and see if that image becomes reality when Austin FC hosts their home opener sometime this summer.