Alamodome changes to heighten focus on stadium’s future

The building’s former general manager will take on a bigger role as it undergoes more improvements ahead of major events.

File: Alamodome

SAN ANTONIOAlamodome General Manager Stephen Zito is taking on a new role with the city of San Antonio, moving up the ranks to an assistant director position with its Convention and Sports Facilities Department.

It’s a timely move that could help extend the life and competitiveness of the 30-year-old stadium as it undergoes more significant improvements.

The municipal department, led by Patricia Muzquiz Cantor, operates three public sports stadiums and the Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center. As part of its restructuring Zito will oversee the Alamodome, while Michael Flores, who has served as the facility’s business manager, will move up to the general manager spot.

“There really needed to be a focus on the Alamodome,” Zito told me. “I just felt there was still so much more to do to get to the level that we’ve all been working toward.”

Muzquiz Cantor said Zito will bring a wealth of knowledge and energy to a position that needs both.

Since January 2022, the dome has hosted more than 1.2 million guests attending an array of concerts, sporting events and other entertainment. On Jan. 13, more than 68,000 Spurs fans filled the building for a game against Golden State that set a new NBA attendance record.

Despite its age, Zito said, “The design of the building still holds up to a lot of stadiums.”

In 2025, the Alamodome, home to UTSA football and the Valero Alamo Bowl, will host its fifth NCAA Men’s Final Four. It will host the Women’s Final Four in 2029.

The dome is set to undergo more significant upgrades needed to continue to attract such events. The replacement of elevator and escalator infrastructure has already been completed, and Zito, who has more than 30 years of experience managing sports and entertainment facilities, says work could begin before the end of the year on the build out of additional club-level suites and upper-deck improvements. The ballpark cost for those improvements is roughly $25 million.

“I’ll be focusing on trying to keep the events rolling and minimizing the impact of construction,” Zito said.

While the Alamodome has had its detractors, city officials point out that its impact on the community has been immense. St. Mary’s University professor Steve Nivin has pegged it at nearly $4 billion to date, including nearly $628 million in revenue for the city, county, state and federal government since it opened on May 15, 1993.

“It’s been an amazing investment,” said Zito, who first started working at the Alamodome when it opened in 1993. “We only want to make it better.”

Read more stories like this on the San Antonio Business Journal.

Editor’s note: This story was published through a partnership between KSAT and the San Antonio Business Journal.