SAN ANTONIO (KTSA News) — Bexar County Commissioner Justin Rodriguez is giving some deeper insight into move by the Spurs to play home games away from AT&T Center.
On Tuesday, Spurs Sports & Entertainment asked the Bexar County Commissioner’s Court for permission to play four home games away from the Silver and Black’s home court in a bid to expand the brand. The idea is the Spurs will play one game at the Alamodome, one game in Mexico and two games in Austin.
The Commissioner’s Court voted 3 to 2 to give tentative approval to explore the option of creating a one year pilot program. The Commissioners will vote again on the matter in two weeks.
Rodriguez was the commissioner who negotiated the idea of a pilot program after the Spurs asked for permission to try the not-so home games over the next two seasons. The Precinct 2 Commissioner dove a little deeper into the decision on The Blitz on San Antonio Sports Star.
The major concern many have is keeping the Spurs in San Antonio if new home courts seem like the better option.
“[With] San Antonio being a small market, are we going to be able to keep the Spurs here long term?” Rodriguez said. “We’ve got people up in Austin flirting with the idea of maybe the Spurs moving to Austin at some point.”
Rodriguez pointed out that they are aware that some of the Spurs leadership are from Austin too. Feeling skeptical, Rodriguez began looking at the current contract which puts the Spurs in the AT&T Center through 2032.
The contract, as it currently is written, also allows for the Spurs to play two home games — and regular season home games specifically — away from AT&T Center. This clause has never been utilized by the SS&E.
On Tuesday, SS&E General Legal Counsel Bobby Perez said the team felt the language in the contract was unclear. The Commissioner’s Court will reconvene in two weeks to vote on the subject again.
“So the way it was pitched to me was, you know, we have that huge gap in home games during the Rodeo Road Trip,” Rodriguez said. “They wanted to be able to sell potentially to their Mexican fanbase in Mexico City and Monterrey, as well as the fanbase up the road in I-35 Austin corridor.”
Rodriguez said the idea of selling game packages that include Austin and Mexico game options.
Ultimately, the Commissioner’s Court voted to explore the option of a pilot program next season that includes four home games away from AT&T Center. The group will also clear up the confusion about the contract language when they meet again in two weeks.
“We also received a full-throated commitment from the Spurs that they’re planning to stay here,” Rodriguez said. “This is part of being able to be successful in San Antonio. [It] is expanding that fanbase, bringing in some different investors, in terms of season ticket holders and things of that nature. So, yeah, an interesting day. More lively than usual at Commissioner’s Court, but I think all-in-all I think it’s a win-win and I look forward to getting the details wrapped up with the Spurs in the next couple weeks.”
Part of the decision to want to utilize the Alamodome is related to the Spur’s upcoming 50th anniversary.
“The next best thing we have [aside from reconstructing the old Hemisfair] is putting a game in the dome,” Rodriguez said on Tuesday. “Putting the curtain back up and reliving part of the Spurs history which was a very successful run in the Alamodome.”
Rodriguez said the Spurs initially reached out to him a few weeks ago to spitball the idea.
“The way they painted it as [a way] to expand their fan base. We know the Spurs, over the year, have a huge fanbase obviously here in San Antonio. We bleed Silver and Black here in San Antonio.”
County Judge Nelson Wolff admonished Spurs General Manager R.C. Buford and owner Peter J. Holt for not being present during this week’s meeting.
“It’s our agreements with them, not with [legal counsel], but with the owners of this thing,” Wolff said on Tuesday. “They ought to be here.”
Rodriguez told The Blitz that he spoke with Buford.
“My understanding is he’s in route to Australia. I think his son coaches for the NBA equivalent of an Australian team there and they’re in the equivalent of the NBA finals,” Rodriguez said, noting that Holt will be “making some rounds in the coming weeks.”
The Precinct 2 Commissioner said “circumstances” kept both from being at the meeting Tuesday.
“I have had conversations with them personally and had those assurances about what their intent is longer term,” Rodriguez said. ” … They’re making this almost $500 million investment in what’s been referred to as the [Human Performance Campus] and training facility there at I-10 and 1604.”
The Human Performance Campus on the city’s northwest side will include training facilities, medical and research offices, commercial areas in addition to a 22-acre park and outdoor plaza.
Rodriguez said this and other investments in the city and county point to their committment.
“San Antonio is their home,” Rodriguez said. “The Spurs have been in San Antonio for 50 years. They hope that we’re here another 50 years. But look at the same time, we all have to understand that this is a business. Sports leagues are businesses and we need to make sure we make sure we watch out for our fanbase and our taxpayers, frankly. And I think that’s what we’re doing with this pilot program.