Beginning with the first tip-off on November 27th, the NBA D-League’s Austin Toros will have a new home at Cedar Park Center. After playing the last five seasons at the Austin Convention Center, the team will make a move this season to the state-of the-art arena just north of town. When the move was announced on August 9th of this year, many wondered why the Toros would choose to move out of downtown Austin, but further inspection reveals that the Cedar Park Center is the perfect new home for the team.
First, Cedar Park Center is truly a state-of-the-art facility designed with a sports team in mind. The arena is also home to the American Hockey League’s (AHL) Texas Stars. The Stars are the affiliate of the Dallas Stars and played their first season in 2009-2010, going all the way to the Calder Cup finals. The facility boasts a premium audio/visual system that will really enhance the in-game experience for Toros fans. At Stars games currently they have several replay cameras, rink-side microphones that enhance the radio broadcast, and the ability to run promotional videos throughout the game.
The Stars also designed their high-tech A/V system to be compatible with that of the Dallas Stars so that highlight clips could easily be shared with media outlets and the affiliate team when players are called up and reassigned. Oftentimes minor league teams do not get media coverage because they do not send camera crews to games. The ability to share game highlights with local news media should help the Toros get better media coverage and could also help the Toros with radio partnerships.
The Cedar Park Center has a capacity of 4,672 with the basketball setup and the arena has ample adjacent parking, one thing that was a little more complicated at the Austin Convention Center. The move to the Cedar Park Center will also allow the Toros to offer a more balanced schedule for fans, including more weekend games. Not having to compete with conventions, weekday rush hour traffic and other downtown events should boost attendance for the Austin Toros. While there are currently several retail and restaurant offerings nearby at 1890 Ranch, the future of the area will bring even more amenities. A 17-acrea retail site, adjacent to Cedar Park Center is being planned and developed by Hicks Cedar Park, LLC.
When new head coach Brad Jones was named, he said he was very excited about playing at the Cedar Park Center, calling it the “perfect arena” for the team and for fans. In just over a month, fans will be able to experience the Toros’ new home for themselves. Hopefully this partnership will be in place for years to come.