College sports are very big, particularly when the University of Texas (UT) Longhorns are playing. The most comprehensive source of information on the various teams is www.texassports.com. If you're interested in attending any of these events, go to www.texasboxoffice.com, where you can buy tickets. It's pretty easy. If you would rather do it over the phone, call UTTM Charge-A-Ticket (tel. 512/477-6060).
The University of Texas baseball team goes to bat February through May at Disch-Falk Field (just east of I-35, at the corner of Martin Luther King, Jr. Blvd. and Comal). Many players from this former NCAA championship squad have gone on to the big time.
Baseball Hall-of-Famer Nolan Ryan's Round Rock Express, a Texas Rangers farm club, won the Texas League championship in 1999, their first year in existence (they now compete in the Pacific Coast League). See them play at the Dell Diamond, 3400 E. Palm Valley Rd., in Round Rock (tel. 512/255-BALL  or 244-4209; www.roundrockexpress.com), an 8,688-seat stadium where you can choose from box seats or stadium seating; an additional 3,000 fans can sit on a grassy berm in the outfield. Tickets range from about $6 to $12.
The University of Texas Longhorns and Lady Longhorns basketball teams, both former Southwest Conference champions, play in the Frank C. Erwin, Jr. Special Events Center (just west of I-35 on Red River, btw. Martin Luther King, Jr. Blvd. and 15th St.) November through March. See above for ticket information
It's hard to tell which is more central to the success of an Austin Thanksgiving: the turkey or the UT-Texas A&M game. Part of the Big 12 Conference, the University of Texas football team often fills the huge Darrell K. Royal/Texas Memorial Stadium (just west of I-35, btw. 23rd and 21st sts., E. Campus Dr., and San Jacinto Blvd.) during home games, played August through November. See above for ticket information.
Formula 1 Racing
The Grand Prix circuit might again include the U.S., and if it does, the race will be held in Austin. It's not by any means a done deal, but the process has been moving forward at a brisk clip to get Formula 1 racing here by 2012. The track would be built south of Bergstrom Airport on a large parcel of undeveloped land. This would be the first track built in the U.S. specifically for Formula 1. Check www.formula1unitedstates.com for current information.
The Triton Financial Classic (tel. 512/732-2666; www.tritonclassic.com), previously called the FedEx Kinko's Classic, continues to be played at the Hills Country Club at Lakeway Resort the first week of June. This Austin stop on the PGA's Champions Tour began back in 2003 and has boasted a $1.6-million purse.
The Austin Ice Bats hockey team (tel. 512/927-PUCK [927-7825]; www.icebats.com) has been getting anything but an icy reception from its Austin fans. This typically rowdy team plays at the Travis County Exposition Center, 7311 Decker Lane (about 15 min. east of UT). Tickets, which run from $10 to $35, are available at any UTTM outlet or from Star Tickets (tel. 888/597-STAR [597-7827] or 512/469-SHOW [469-7469]; www.startickets.com). The team generally plays on weekends, mid-October through late March; a phone call will get you the exact dates and times.
In 2001, some local women with a taste for mayhem and too much time on their hands formed an amateur women's roller derby league. For those of you who don't remember roller derby (or don't care to), it was a defunct late-night television sport of the '70s, which was celebrated in celluloid by Raquel Welch in that immortal film classic, Kansas City Bombers. Two teams in old-style roller skates (not in-line skates) circle a banked track, pushing and elbowing and colliding with each other. Scoring points doesn't really matter all that much. As a sport, it has all the low-brow panache of wrestling, but with less of the good-versus-evil script, and more pure anything-but-wholesome fun.
Attending roller derby bouts quickly became a hip thing to do in Austin, and the league now fields five teams. All the women get in character for their competition and ham it up with as much poor taste as possible. You have the Holy Rollers, the Hellcats, the Cherry Bombs, and so on. The skyrocketing popularity has led to the formation of leagues in other cities. Whether they are as fun as what goes on in Austin, I can't say. The season lasts from January to October. There are usually two bouts per month, which take place on weekends at the Palmer Event Center. If you want to see some Austin quirkiness and celebrate low-brow culture in a tongue-in-cheek fashion, you will appreciate these events. To see their schedule, check out the Lonestar Rollergirls website www.txrd.com. There is now also a flat-track league that is just as fun to watch, called the Texas Rollergirls (www.txrollergirls.com). Their season lasts from March through August, with bouts taking place at the Austin Convention Center.
From August through November, you can find the University of Texas women's soccer team competing against the other NCAA teams. In 2008, the team made it into the second round of the NCAA playoffs, losing to Portland 2-0. Home games are played either Friday or Sunday at the Mike A. Myers Stadium and Soccer Field, just northeast of the UT football stadium at Robert Dedman Drive and Mike Myers Drive. See above for ticket information.
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.