Round Rock, Texas, Goes Beyond Sports

Round Rock Chad Mackenzie

Located less than 30 minutes from the booming tech hub of Austin, the City of Round Rock is expanding it tourism footprint with a rebranding initiative and a variety of new construction projects. “Go Round Rock!” is the new slogan for visitors, and is part of the of its new tourism brand designed to attract many other types of visitors beyond sports. The new brand, which was launched in April, reflects the city’s presence as a destination for sports tourists and emergence as a well-rounded destination for business meetings plus leisure activities, referred to in the industry as “bleisure” tourism, according to the announcement. “We’ve grown so much broader, bigger and bolder than our original Sports Capital of Texas brand,” says City of Round Rock Sports Management and Tourism Director Chad McKenzie. “Sports is still the foundation of tourism in Round Rock. Now we have the opportunity to expand because we have a robust offering for meeting and leisure tourism that is reflected in our new brand.”

New Projects

Famed music venue Nutty Brown Cafe & Amphitheatre is relocating from Southwest Austin to McNeil Park in Round Rock. The new Nutty Brown Cafe & Amphitheatre is scheduled to host its first show in spring 2020 and will include a large outdoor music venue with capacity for 7,000 as well as a two-story restaurant and bar and rooftop deck. Also, in late 2020, Kalahari Resorts and Conventions will open a new development in Round Rock with 975 hotel rooms and a 200,000-sq.-ft. convention center in November 2020. The resort will include the largest indoor water park in the country at 223,000 square feet as well as outdoor pools and restaurants and a Tom Foolery’s Adventure Park, which will include 80,000 square feet of rides, a ropes course, climbing walls, an indoor zip line, bowling, laser tag and more than 250 arcade games. Here’s what McKenzie had to say about the city’s plans and rebranding:

Can you provide a little background about how Round Rock has evolved into the Sports Capital and what are the features that have defined that status?

Since 2004 when the Sports Capital of Texas brand was initially adopted, Round Rock has grown and changed drastically in terms of shopping, dining and entertainment options, including the addition of the Round Rock Premium Outlets, Bass Pro Shop, IKEA, Jack Allen's Kitchen, Salt Traders, Pinthouse Pizza and multiple hotels. The sports tourism industry here has also continued to grow and become well-established with Round Rock attracting more and more regional, national and international sporting events.

What are some of the exciting features of Round Rock that make it desirable for not just sports enthusiasts but meeting planners and tourists?

Major projects underway in Round Rock poise the city for a broader tourism market. In addition to improvements to downtown, Nutty Brown Amphitheatre is slated to open soon; a $200 million, one million-square-foot mixed-use development called The District will break ground soon; and Kalahari Resorts & Conventions will open next year.

How has the Austin economic boom and investment in tech business helped drive Round Rock's economy and the tourism industry?

Because of the jobs created from companies like Google, Apple, and Facebook coming to Austin, approximately 150 people relocate to the Austin area each day. This has affected Round Rock and contributed to our fast growth while cultivating an excellent quality of life for our citizens. Also, many of the high-tech companies in Austin choose our hotels for their employee stays and therefore contribute to our room nights.

What was the philosophy behind the rebranding effort and what do you want the new branding to evoke?

This is a complete rebrand for the Round Rock Convention and Visitors Bureau, which was previously focused solely on sports tourism. The Round Rock CVB is now a division of the City of Round Rock Sports Management and Tourism Department. The new brand will replace everything that was previously the Sports Capital of Texas brand. The new logo is versatile, with versions that can be used both for sports tourism, and for meetings and leisure tourism. Round Rock is still the Sports Capital of Texas, but that tagline will be used exclusively for sports tourism efforts. We are excited about the new brand and we hope it is a brand that our local residents and business owners can rally behind! We appreciate their role as ambassadors and how they encourage more tourism to our great community. We have to evolve in order to attract these other markets. This new brand allows us to evolve and it now reflects what Round Rock really is today and all that the city has to offer.