The 2014 Austin City Limits Music Festival Lineup is here!

The Austin City Limits Music Festival lineup for 2014 has finally been announced! When festival goers make their way to Austin’s Zilker Park in October, there will be plenty to choose from. Whether you’re going weekend 1 (October 3-5) or Weekend 2 (October 10-12) you’ll be able to enjoy one of the finest lineups we’ve seen from C3 in years.

Austin City Limits Music Festival 2014 Lineup

If you’ve been waiting for Austin City Limits to bring back some more rap/hip hop, you’ve got to be pleased with headliners Eminem and Outkast. Eminem will be headlining Lollapalooza in just a few months, so surely we’ll hear lots of buzz heading into ACL about his performance there. Outkast had coming off a rough reunion show at weekend one of Coachella – general sentiment was that the show was a bust. But, they’re Outkast, so they turned it around for weekend two. I have high hopes that they’ll work out the kinks further and put on an amazing show when they hit Austin. Just a month removed from a killer show at SXSW, Childish Gambino makes the lineup for ACL to add a little more to the rap enthusiasts out there.

For those less interested in rap, the headliners have plenty of other genres to choose from. Pearl Jam, Skrillex and Beck will be rounding out the Friday and Saturday night headliners. Pearl Jam have been rocking for over 23 years now, so you can count on a solid set from them. Dubstep guru Skrillex played ACL a few years back, but this year the stage will be bigger. I saw him play a few years back and have to say, this will be a show you can’t miss. His high-energy shows will get the crowd moving! Somewhere in between throw back and dance party, Beck, promoting his new album, is sure to be quite the crowd pleaser. His new album is fantastic, but you know he’ll play plenty of his older hits to keep the festival goers happy.

Before you buy tickets, make sure that the acts you’re interested in are going to make it on the weekend you’re planning to attend! There are a handful of acts playing only one weekend this year, but the only really major act that’ll only be attending one weekend is Lorde, who will be gracing weekend two with her unique music. So, if you’ve been dying to hear Royals, make sure you get your pass to weekend two!

Per usual, there’s a pretty big indie presence at ACL. Broken Bells, Chvrches, Phantogram and Capital Cities and Jagwar Ma will all be great sets to check out. Phantogram was all over SXSW and crushed just about every show.

If you’re at ACL to dance, then you’ve got plenty of opportunity. Calvin Harris – best bio on the ACL website, “I make music and I love my food” – just performed at Coachella and left the crowd very pleased, so expect a high energy showing at ACL. Diplo’s Major Lazer will be at ACL as well. They’ve played nearby at the White Water Amphitheatre down in New Braunfels and I still hear people talking about how great the show was. I’d imagine they’ll take advantage of the ACL stage and leave people talking.

Personally, I’m most looking forward to Jagwar Ma, Beats Antique and Rebelution, since I’ve got to get a little reggae in! What do you think of the lineup and who are you looking forward to checking out this year at Austin City Limits?

San Francisco 49ers Schedule Preview

Coming off another frustrating loss for the third season in a row, it’s now or never for the San Francisco 49ers. At 12-4 on the 2013 season the Niners came one play away from heading to their second straight Super Bowl appearance only to have their dreams shattered by Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman. To make matters even worse, offseason headlines have been all but promising of a 2014 comeback with the possible loss of Aldon Smith and troublesome ventures of Colin Kaepernick. In any matter the 49ers remain grounded and determined seal the deal in 2014.

With the end of Colt McCoy’s contract San Francisco reached out to the Jaguars to obtain Blaine Gabbert as their number 2 quarterback for a sixth round pick. While the club is hoping to only use Gabbert as a number 2, having a solid first round pick to take over the reins if necessary is always reassuring. Brandon Lloyd will join forces with Crabtree, Boldin, and Patton as the 49ers newest wide out and has the potential to be the solid #3 receiver Harbaugh has been looking for. Lloyd has taken on a persona of a downfield highlight reel receiver in the past but at 33 years old has had to reinvent his game as a reliable pass catcher anywhere on the field. The offense will also return Mario Manningham and Marcus Lattimore from injuries to hopefully provide another spark in the huddle. While the presence of Aldon Smith on the field is no doubt significant, losing him in the 2014 season is not the end all be all for San Francisco’s defense. There is no getting around the fact that Smith is a rare athlete (40 sacks in his first 38 starts) but with high reward comes high risk and a defense with plenty of weapons it’s a risk the 49ers must pass on to reach their pinnacle in 2014.

The 49ers were in control throughout most of the 2013 NFC championship game.

The 49ers were in control throughout most of the 2013 NFC championship game.

For 49ers fans all home games this year are going to be big as the Niners will break in their newly constructed Levi’s Stadium after bidding farewell to Candlestick Park last year. Look for visits from the Philadelphia Eagles, Washington Redskins, Chicago Bears, and San Diego Chargers to Santa Clara to take on the red and gold in their new home. While these are all great games to check out at Levi’s Stadium, the game at the top of the list should be when Alex Smith brings his Kansas City Chiefs back to the Bay for the first time since departing from the team he helped build. Smith was a Niner for seven seasons before he took over in Kansas City and lead the Chiefs to an 11-5 record and will surely get a warm welcome back to the Bay. If there was one game to take it all though, it would have to be the 2013 NFC Championship rematch against the Seattle Seahawks. You can be certain blood will be boiling when this rivalry hits the field in San Francisco, especially between a certain cornerback and “mediocre” wide receiver.

Having spent the past three season on the brink of the Super Bowl there is no reason to think the 49ers won’t head right back to the playoffs in 2014. With another year of experience under Kaepernick’s belt the offense should be at the top of their game, especially when it comes to clock management, something Kap has struggled with in his first few years. To get back to the Super Bowl San Francisco is going to have to win in Seattle. They went 2-0 at CenturyLink Field in 2013 and it cost them the NFC Championship both times. With 11 picks in the upcoming draft the 49ers are poised to load up on some fresh new talent and don’t be surprised if Harbaugh works out a deal to move up from the 30th overall pick like they did last year to get LSU Safety Eric Reid.

2014 MLB Ticket Prices Show Huge Increase in Demand Among Marlins Fans

The 2014 MLB season is well under-way.  Heading into the fourth week of the regular season, most teams sit at the .500 mark; however, a few MLB teams like the Marlins seem to be playing an entirely different game than 2013. So how are fans reacting to early-season surprises and shake-ups? Ticket demand compared to this point in the season last year tells an interesting story about the fan bases that are most excited about 2014, and those that appear to be less than hopeful.

St. Louis Cardinals (Most Expensive)
After losing the World Series in 2013 to Boston, the Cardinals have jumped 1 spot in the rankings due a 10% increase in average ticket price compared to last season.  Heading into 2014, the NL pennant winners shored up their two most glaring weaknesses in the offseason.  Add the fact that Baseball Prosepctus ranked the Cardinals first among the 30 teams in 25-and-under talent, and it’s easy to see why Cardinals fans are willing to pay a premium for Cardinals tickets- both this season and for years to come.

Pittsburgh Pirates (Least Expensive)
The Pirates perennially sit at the bottom on the list for ticket prices on the secondary market.  However, after breaking a two-decade streak of sub-.500 records in 2013 and gaining their first postseason berth in 20 years, the Pirates have seen a 22% increase in average ticket price in 2014. Still, it wasn’t enough to catapult them from their #30 ranking, most likely due to the fact that the Pirates did little during the off-season to address potential weaknesses, and fans are well aware.

Miami Marlins (Biggest Increase)
The league’s worst offense in recent history last season is, as of Saturday night’s win over the Seattle Mariners, the third-highest scoring team in baseball in 2014.  In year two of their rebuilding project and with All-Star right fielder Giancarlo Stanton finally healthy after missing 85 games the last two seasons, excitement among Marlins fans has led to an 81% increase in average ticket price.  Whether or not the Marlins can maintain their momentum, it won’t be the heartbreak season of years past- halfway through April Miami has already reached 16 homers, after claiming just 12 in all of April in 2013.

Cincinnati Reds (Biggest Drop)
For Red’s fans, who go into each season expecting to make it to the postseason, 2013 was a disappointing year- and they’re demonstrating this disappointment with their pocketbooks.  The average ticket price to a Reds game has decreased by 44% compared to 2013. Additionally, no team has had to deal with the amount of key injuries that the Reds have dealt with this spring. The three highest-paid members of the bullpen – Aroldis Chapman, Sean Marshall, and Jonathan Broxton all started the season on the disabled list.  With all three players now officially cleared to play as of this Saturday, ticket prices could increase over the course of the season after reaching record lows.

Below is full ranking of all MLB teams based on average ticket price for the 2014 season.

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2014 Dallas Cowboys Season Preview and Schedule

The Dallas Cowboys have been the NFL’s most average team over the last decade, and as they come of yet another 8-8 season the team is looking for a new identity. The 2013 Cowboys had one of the worst defenses in NFL history, giving up an obscene amount of passing yards including allowing Calvin Johnson to break the NFL record for receiving yards in a game. Even with the defensive woes, the season came down to Week 17 against the Philadelphia Eagles. QB Tony Romo was lost for the game after an injury the previous Sunday, and a Kyle Orton interception with two minutes left in the 4th quarter ended the Cowboys season.

This year the Cowboys go into the season without All-Pro defensive end DeMarcus Ware for the first time in nine seasons, releasing the pass rusher before the cap hit. Ware joined the AFC champion Broncos and the Cowboys brougth in Henry Melton to help out in his absence. Miles Austin was also let go after a productive career thus far, though he might still be brought back with a smaller deal if the Cowboys decide not to pick up a wide receiver in the first couple rounds of the upcoming draft.

Will this ever be a winning combination? (USA Today)

Many of the fans complaints through the 2013 season came about the coaching staff, with Monte Kiffin’s defense playing a new system that did not work in any facet of the game. The blitzing that we saw in 2013 behind Rob Ryan was gone, with a more conservative approach being taken. On offense, Bill Callahan took over play calling duties from head coach Jason Garrett to middling success. The season began well, including a huge game passing from Romo against the Broncos in Week 5 that included 5 TDs and over 500 yards. As the season went on the offense declined, and the choice to call passing plays even with the run working baffled pundits and fans around the league.

The 2014 schedule is challenging, with home games against the 49ers, Saints, Colts and Cardinals. Those teams had a combined record of 44-20 in 2013, and the 49ers were one play away from a second consecutive berth in the Super Bowl. The Saints returned from suspension hell after the ‘Bountygate’ scandal, and were once again a force to be reckoned with — including their 32-point beat down of Dallas in Week 10.
On the road the Cowboys will see Chicago, Tennessee, and the defending-champion Seattle Seahawks. There’s no stadium in the NFL louder than Seattle’s CenturyLink Field, and the last time the Cowboys were at Soldier Field it didn’t work out too well for them. The Cowboys will also play the Jaguars at Wembley Stadium in London on November 9, with the Jags losing the home game from their schedule.

The NFC East is always a wide-open race, and this year expect the Redskins to once again challenge the Cowboys and Eagles. The Cowboys went 1-1 against the Eagles in 2013, and will need to get through divisional play with a winning record if they want another shot at the NFL playoffs in 2014.

Average Ticket Prices trending up for UFC

Saturday, April 26, Jon Jones and Glover Tiexeira face off in UFC 172. Teixeira comes in with a 22-2-0 record. His last three major fights were all victories, with his most recent victory a TKO against Ryan Bader. Jones, with a 19-1-0 record also won his last three major fights, with his last TKO coming almost a year ago against Chael Sonnen. This Light Heavyweight Title Fight is sure to be a thrilling bout, but how does it stack up to other big fights?

First, we compared the past five big UFC fights: UFC 171 – UFC 167. While UFC 172 is finally showing an uptick in ticket price, it’s still a significantly cheaper average ticket than UFC 167. Back in November when Georges St-Pierre defeated Johny Hendricks in a round five decision, average ticket price was a whopping $591.72. Ticketholders for the next fight, UFC 168, Chris Weidman and Anderson Silva faced off in a rematch of UFC 162. You may remember this match as the fight when Silva broke both his left figula and tibia in the second round, resulting in a TKO and a second victory for Weidman. Ticketholder for this cringe-inducing fight paid an average of $550.57.

Maybe fans didn’t want to witness another severely broken leg, but average ticket prices for UFC 169 dropped substantially. Fans for Renan Barrao’s first round TKO of Urijah Faber paid the lowly average price of 162.83. Probably for the best as the title fight lasted under two minutes. Fortunately, the following two years showed slight growth. UFC 170, featuring Olympians Ronda Rousey and Sara McMann brought the average ticket price back above $200 to $213.29. Average ticket prices continued to trend up when Johny Hendrix defeated Robbie Lawler by decision. Ticket prices for UFC 171 averaged $260.01.

So far, Jones is on track to second his best average ticket price at a fight. He peaked at UFC 159 with an average ticket price of $274.43. Tiexeria isn’t even close to his best from UFC 160, though he wasn’t the title fight of that event. Average ticket price for that night was $315.12.

While ticket price can definitely show interest in the fight, there’s no way of knowing how exciting the fight will truly be. That’s one of the best part about checking out a UFC fight is that you never know how incredible of a fight you may see. From close five-round fights to first round TKOs to some of the more gruesome injuries in sports, there’s never a shortage of excitement at UFC.

The fight next Saturday will take place at the Baltimore Arena in Baltimore, Maryland. The rest of the main card is rounded out with light heavyweights Phil Davis and Anthony Johnson, middleweights Luke Rockhold and Tim Boetsch, lightweights Jim Miller and Bobby Green, and featherweights Max Holloway and Andre Fili. With Teixeira and Jones teased as the title fight for the past three UFC events, this fight is the culmination of quite a bit of anticipation. Who do you see walking away with the title? Sound off in the comments!