Austin becomes center of sports world for SXSports

Bridget Bonasoro

This weekend, you might bump into Odell Beckham Jr. on Rainey Street.

Now in its third year, SXSports attracts big-name journalists, executives and athletes to downtown Austin to discuss sports’ growing intersection with social issues, technology and the entertainment world at-large.

NFL phenom Odell Beckham Jr., UFC star Ronda Rousey and NBA Commissioner Adam Silver will headline SXSports, which is comprised of about 100 different events that range from baseball analytics at the “Randomness in Baseball: Cluster Luck or Cluster F***?” panel to Japanese racehorses at “The Shining Star of Losers Everywhere.” Here are our picks for must-attend sports panels for badge-holders:

Courtside with NBA Commissioner Adam Silver

  • When: Friday, March 11 at 12:30 p.m.
  • Where: Austin Convention Center, Ballroom EFG, 531 E. Fourth St.
  • As the opening featured speaker, Adam Silver and CNN anchor Brian Stelter will discuss the future of the NBA and the impact of its fans. For more information, click here.

The Rio 2016 Olympics and the Mega-Event Machine

  • When: Friday, March 11 at 3:30 p.m.
  • Where: Four Seasons Hotel, 98 San Jacinto Blvd.
  • UT sociology professor Ben Carrington will head a panel exploring how mega-events, like the 2016 Rio Olympics, affect the cities where they take place. Additionally, Daron K. Roberts, the founding director of the Center for Sports Leadership and Innovation, and Sanya Richards-Ross, UT alumna and Olympic gold medalist, will take part in their own respective panels. For more information, click here.

“Everybody Wants Some” Premiere

  • When: Friday, March 11 at 6:30 p.m.
  • Where: Paramount Theatre, 713 Congress Ave.
  • Texas-based director Richard Linklater will debut “Everybody Wants Some,” his first film following the Oscar-nominated “Boyhood.” The film follows the life of a group of college baseball players in the 1980s. For more information, click here.

Trans Athletes: The New Frontier of Sports

  • When: Saturday, March 12 at 12:30 p.m.
  • Where: Four Seasons Hotel, 98 San Jacinto Blvd.
  • The convergence of sports with social issues dominates the docket with several panels examining how race, gender and sexuality impact athletes and society as a whole. Chris Mosier, the first openly transgender man to make a Men’s U.S. National Team, will talk about how sports can be a vehicle for transgender acceptance. For more information, click here.

Sports Media’s Role in Shaping Social Justice

  • When: Saturday, March 12 at 2 p.m.
  • Where: Four Seasons Hotel, 98 San Jacinto Blvd.
  • A panel led by ESPN personality Bomani Jones and OutSports editor Cyd Ziegler, will focus on how the lens of sports has widened to include not only on-field action, but social issues off the field. Jessica Luther, a freelance journalist and fellow in the Texas Program in Sports and Media also participates in the panel. For more information, click here.

Direct From The Source: Athletes Unfiltered

  • When: Sunday, March 13 at 3:30 p.m.
  • Where: Austin Convention Center, Ballroom EFG, 531 E. Fourth St.
  • Odell Beckham Jr. and Ronda Rousey help close the festival with their panel “Direct from the Source: Athletes Unfiltered” which examines the increasing control athletes have over their brands and fans. For more information, click here.