Putting the Tech into Texas Football
After two home games, the on-field product at Darrell K Royal Memorial Stadium has clearly and significantly improved as compared to a year ago. That said, after the same two home games, the off-field experience at Darrell K. Royal Memorial Stadium still needs a little bit of work. Some obvious refinements are in order, many of which could be assisted with help from the city’s strong tech community.
- Austin’s ride-share challenges in the wake of the Uber / Lyft departure have become painfully obvious in dealing with the gigantic crowds that amass for home football games. The wait for vehicles against Notre Dame on September 4 was especially brutal. UT officials must work more closely with RideAustin, Fare Fasten, and the many other TNCs that have emerged to mitigate these transportation problems.
- Wi-fi in the stadium is still spotty at best. Yes, providing effective and consistent wireless coverage for close to 100,000 users is particularly difficult. But if we are positioning ourselves as the nation’s top startup city (and if the innovation that comes out of the University of Texas is part of that equation), then we have to do a lot better with these basic connectivity issues.
- Speaking of Austin’s startups, wouldn’t it be cool if we could highlight some of our most forward-thinking Central Texas companies to the huge crowds that come to Longhorn football games? For instance, one imagines that some of the city’s top social media companies could come up with some pretty neat content for the Jumbotron scoreboard on the south end of the field.
- While not directly tech-related, the food offerings at DKR should better reflect the city’s incredibly vibrant eating scene. No, we don’t have to replace all the current popcorn, hot dog, hamburger and nacho vendors. But, a boutique food court that curated some of the best dining options from top local chefs and top local restaurants would be very welcome addition to traditional gridiron grub.
The bottom line is as follows. As much as Austin has morphed into a tech town, winning UT football teams still hold a power over this town like few other entities. So let’s do a better job of marrying the best of the old and the best of the new. Use Saturdays at the Forty Acres to showcase the innovative, next-generation thinking that makes this city such a compelling destination— and to make for an even better fan experience.