Spurs grab San Antonio's attention over desire to play games outside city

Spurs Chair Peter Holt in an open letter to fans reiterated the team's commitment to San Antonio for the foreseeable futureREGINALD THOMAS II/SPURS

Spurs Chair Peter Holt in an open letter yesterday said the team is "in San Antonio to stay," but their desire to play some home games away from AT&T Center was enough to "grab the city's attention," according to W. Scott Bailey of the SAN ANTONIO BUSINESS JOURNAL. The Spurs said that the playing home games away from San Antonio would help "build a wider regional support base from northern Mexico to Central Texas." But the fact that some of those games could end up in Austin, the same city that landed an MLS franchise San Antonio chased, "hasn't gone unnoticed." The Spurs are "as important to San Antonio -- economically, culturally and spiritually -- as the Packers are to Green Bay or the Grizzlies are to Memphis." Moving a few Spurs home games for one season "isn't the end of the world -- unless it leads to something more." Holt said that the "real threat of relocation" is what prompted his family to "get involved with the Spurs decades ago." In his open letter to fans, Holt said, "We would not let that happen then and we will not let that happen now." In a climate where trust among fans in teams "may be fleeting and commitment is a word used far too infrequently," San Antonio's "most valuable Spur may be Holt" (, 5/10). 

THE LOGICAL CHOICE: In San Antonio, Mike Finger writes the speculation of the Spurs' future in San Antonio "never made much sense to begin with," and those inclined to speculate are "going to keep doing it regardless of how many open letters are released or how many facts suggest a move to Austin would be impractical at best." Austin does not have an arena large enough to "permanently house an NBA team." To get one, they would "need to build one at a cost of at least $500 million then have it compete for large concerts and other events with the just-opened Moody Center." Although the Austin market is booming, no franchise "wants to go head-to-head with the University of Texas for entertainment and sponsorship dollars." Given the choice, staying in San Antonio "seems much, much smarter," and that "might be why the Spurs are doing it." It "defies logic" that any team considering a move "would invest $500 million in a performance center and public events space like the one the Spurs just broke ground on at The Rock at La Cantera." None of it assures the county that the Spurs "won't eventually seek a new arena when its lease expires in 2032, because most every franchise does at some point, and because the AT&T Center remains one of the last venues in the NBA not located in a downtown or entertainment district." Those discussions "probably will be had at some point" (SAN ANTONIO EXPRESS-NEWS, 5/11).

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