SAN ANTONIO – Bexar County Commissioners gave their official approval Tuesday for the San Antonio Spurs to play four “home” games away from their home court at the AT&T Center next season - the team’s 50th season in San Antonio.
The court’s 4-1 vote confirmed the official language for the plan that commissioners initially approved on May 3 in a 3-2 vote.
Spurs Sports & Entertainment wants the team to play one of its games next season in Mexico City, two at the Moody Center in Austin, and another at the Alamodome, the team’s former home court, for a 50th anniversary celebration.
The Spurs have a non-relocation agreement that prohibits them from playing more than two of their 41 regular season home games away from the county-owned AT&T Center in any one season. The team sought the county’s blessing to ensure it wouldn’t have to pay damages of up to $130 million.
SS&E had originally wanted to increase the limit to four games for both the 2022-2023 and 2023-2024 seasons, painting its request as a way to grow the Spurs’ regional brand and fan base “from Mexico to Austin.”
But amid concerns over whether the Spurs’ plan — especially the games in Austin — could signify an eventual move up Interstate 35, commissioners only gave initial approval for one season as a pilot program
In light of those concerns, San Antonio, SS&E Chairman Peter J. Holt released a letter on May 10 promising the team was here to stay, “Por Vida.”
Holt and SS&E CEO R.C. Buford were traveling for the NBA draft combine and the lottery selection on Tuesday, SS&E General Counsel Bobby Perez told commissioners. However, Holt had recorded a video message, reiterating that “we’re here to stay.”
Commissioners on Tuesday appeared largely reassured by the letter and other communication with the Spurs.
“I don’t think we could have asked any more. He was unequivocal about it,” County Judge Nelson Wolff said of Holt’s letter.
Precinct 3 Commissioner Marialyn Barnard said Holt’s letter - and a private meeting she had with Holt, Perez, and the chief assistant district attorney for the civil section, Larry Roberson - had helped convince her to switch her vote.
“I do feel, obviously, that it is a business decision that you have to make. Clearly, we want the Spurs to grow. We want them to grow here,” Barnard said.
Precinct 4 Commissioner Tommy Calvert, who represents the area around the arena, remained a “no” vote, though he also talked about development possibilities around AT&T Center and Freeman Coliseum.
“I think that we’re going to look to improve ways to have things for the common working man that can be a part of whatever the future of the Spurs holds on the Coliseum ground. So we’re committed to that. I just think that my constituents wanted me to vote that way, and that’s what I do,” Calvert told reporters after the vote.