SAN ANTONIO — The San Antonio Spurs got just enough approval from Bexar County commissioners to play some of their home games abroad next year.
County commissioners voted 3-2 to give preliminary approval for the Spurs to play four home games outside the AT&T Center in the 2022-2023 season.
The Spurs made the request to Bexar County, who owns the AT&T Center, since the team cannot play these proposed games away from the arena without the county’s permission.
Initially the team asked to play games away from home for two years, but County Commissioner Justin Rodriguez countered with a one-year deal, which the Spurs representative agreed to.
“I don’t think this does anything that would entice them to move, if anything we hope it’s going to broaden their fanbase,” Bexar County Judge Nelson Wolff said. "Under the contract, they have every right to go play wherever they want to play right now for two games, and they can be playing them in Austin if they want to play them there. This would add to that an international game and a game in the dome."
According to a proposed amendment to the non-relocation agreement, the Spurs sought to play two of their home games within 100 miles of the arena, one game within 10 miles of the arena, and one game outside the US.
During the meeting, Spurs Legal Counsel Bobby Perez said those games would likely take place at the new UT Moody Center, the Alamodome, and Mexico City, although none of the venues have been finalized.
When Perez was asked about the Spurs’ testing the waters for relocation, Perez said the Spurs are staying in San Antonio. However, that did not mean much to Judge Wolff.
“There are number of people are convinced they are going to go elsewhere,” Judge Wolff said, noting the split vote. "That's not a good sign. It shows you that there's a divided opinion in this community as to the intention of the Spurs, that there's a lot of concern about just what the heck you're doing."
“I’d feel more comfortable if the owners were here and they say what they wanted to say,” Judge Wolff said. "When you come back, we want to hear exactly what they're gonna say and what they're saying. The owners of this thing, they ought to be here."
The current non-relocation agreement with the county goes through the 2031-2032 season. Relocating from the arena before that season would cost the team $84,000,000.
On Tuesday, Spurs Sports and Entertainment CEO RC Buford issued a statement on the proposal.
“From day one, we’ve received amazing support from Spurs fans in San Antonio and across South and Central Texas. We are committed to finding new, creative ways to purposefully engage and celebrate our fans from Mexico to Austin, continuing to expand our regional fanbase," Spurs CEO RC Buford said in a statement. "We believe San Antonio is uniquely positioned from a cultural, geographic and economic standpoint to serve as the anchor for this region."
RC Buford did not appear at Tuesday’s meeting. In two weeks from now—there will be a final vote on the precise language of how this changes the Spurs’ non-relocation agreement.