Congressman Tony Gonzales introduces bill to keep Spurs in San Antonio

Rumors of team’s departure to Austin have accelerated in recent seasons

U.S. Rep. Tony Gonzales, R-San Antonio, speaks at a press conference in Washington, D.C., on Aug. 24, 2021. (Michael Brochstein/Sipa Usa Via Reuters, Michael Brochstein/Sipa Usa Via Reuters)

U.S. Rep. Tony Gonzales on Friday announced that he has introduced a bill designed to keep the San Antonio Spurs franchise in the city of San Antonio.

The bill comes as rumors of the team’s departure to Austin has accelerated in recent seasons.

Gonzales, a Republican who represents a massive district from San Antonio to El Paso, says the Strengthening Public Undertaking for Retaining Sports, or SPURS Act, will require team owners to give written notification via certified mail one year before relocation.

The bill also states that if an owner were to relocate the team, they must reimburse the State and local government for financial assistance or incentives provided to them — including the special tax treatment and financing of an arena. Local governments could then sue the team to recover financial damages from relocating, the press release said.

“For years, the Spurs have been a critical part of San Antonio’s identity,” Gonzales said. “From boosting the local economy to spearheading philanthropic efforts, the impact of the Spurs goes beyond the court. That’s why I am proud to introduce this legislation not just for San Antonio, but as a model for other cities across America.”

Orlando Magic forward Franz Wagner (22) drives to the basket past San Antonio Spurs forward Keita Bates-Diop (31) and guard Devin Vassell (24) and during the first half of an NBA preseason basketball game, Thursday, Oct. 6, 2022, in San Antonio. (AP Photo/Eric Gay) (Copyright 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved)

The 2022-2023 NBA season will be the team’s 50th in San Antonio and a season-long celebration will be commemorating the franchise’s move to the Alamo City.

As part of the celebration, the Spurs will return to the Alamodome for a home game for the first time in 20 years when they face off against Golden State on Jan. 13.

The franchise will have special nights to honor each of the five championship Spurs teams, and will also host an origins night to honor former greats like Hall-of-Famer George Gervin.

During opening night Oct. 19, the franchise is honoring Spurs legend Manu Ginobili’s recent 2022 Basketball Hall of Fame induction.

But the Spurs will also play home games in Austin and Mexico City this season, a move the team says is to expand the team’s brand and organization’s reach.

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About the Author:

Ben Spicer is a digital journalist who works the early morning shift for KSAT.