Behind Q2’s decision to put its name on Austin’s new soccer stadium
- Q2 bought the naming rights to the new soccer stadium in Austin.
- It’s a move to cement the firm as a player in the local market and a place to convene with its banking partners and fintechs.
The Super Bowl may be over, but banking software season is just gearing up.
Q2, a digital banking software firm serving banks and credit unions, recently announced its plans to put its name on Austin’s upcoming $260 million soccer stadium.
With momentum in its core software offering and new banking as a service clients like Intuit and Credit Karma, Q2 had a good 2020. By the third quarter of last year, the company had 17.1 million registered users on its platform -- a 21% year-over-year growth.
The company is expanding. There are hundreds of new open positions on its site. And the company is making a bet that the stadium will help attract top local talent. Putting your company’s name on a stadium may seem like an extreme way of saying ‘we’re hiring.’ But it could also be a way to get first dibs on talent in the area before anyone else does, as Austin is emerging as a tech hub.
Major tech companies have already established locations in Austin. Oracle moved its headquarters there in December. Samsung has a base there too and is even negotiating building a chip factory in the area.
“With Austin exploding, there’s a need to hire top talent,” said Will Furrer, chief strategy officer at Q2. “To get that talent, we’ve got to invest in the community. Why not have a venue where things come together?”
Building Q2 Stadium could be seen as a major power move on the company’s part, as well -- similar to SoFi putting its name on a $5 billion football stadium back in September. The venue can serve as an impressive spot to bring prospective clients -- a way to showcase the company’s assets and meet with banking and fintech partners.
“We think it will be phenomenal for the business — it’s a phenomenal venue,” said Furrer.
And with the city’s newfound focus on Major League Soccer, Austin also happens to be on its way to becoming a soccer hub. The Q2 Stadium will be home to Austin’s own major league soccer team, which is expected to start playing later this year. The team will be Austin’s first-ever sports team.
“Soccer is gaining traction as the second fastest growing professional sport in the U.S. and is already the staple for Austin as a city as the lone professional sports franchise in town,” said Jeremy Pressman, founding partner of ADvantage Sports Tech Fund, a VC for sports tech.
Having the naming rights for the city’s up-and-rising staple sport’s stadium could also be a way to cement Q2 in people’s memory.
But even so, a costly move like this is always risky. And now, with the pandemic still here, doubly so.
One risk is simply not knowing when stadiums will even feel relevant again.
“It may take a while to get back to a state where people are fully comfortable traveling to sporting events, even if they are more focal points of business going forward,” said Pressman.
Still, Q2’s Furrer doesn’t seem too concerned about potential obstacles. ‘This too shall pass,’ seems to be his motto.
“Normal will come back,” said Furrer. “And when it does, people will want events, people will want memories, and people will want locales to have them in.”
In general, Q2’s approach to getting first dibs on talent seems very much in line with ‘go big or go home’.
“It's an interesting power play from a group looking to make a name in an area of the world which is quickly growing for this sport,” said Pressman.
When it comes to talent acquisition, Q2 is getting the ball rolling with this stadium. Now it’s just a matter of seeing if it scores.