Wednesday, July 6, 2022

Spurs planning to play four ‘home games’ outside of San Antonio to expand fan base

Earlier this month, Spurs Sports and Entertainment managing partner Peter J. Holt penned an open letter reiterating the franchise’s commitment to the city of San Antonio. “There are no Spurs without the city and the people of San Antonio,” Holt said. “Your team, our team, together we are the silver and black. Spurs Fans — we are here to stay, Por Vida.”

But while the Spurs won’t be relocating, they may soon be playing some “home games” outside of San Antonio. On Tuesday, Bexar County, Texas commissioners approved a plan that would allow the Spurs to play four “home games” in other cities in order to expand the team’s fan base. 

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The one-year pilot program, which passed with a 4-1 vote, could begin as soon as next season, but may be pushed back to 2023-24. Further details still need to determined, but possible locations for the game include Austin, Texas, and possibly even Mexico, with Mexico City and Monterrey on the short list. 

While the Spurs have been one of the most successful franchises in NBA history, they have hit a rough patch over the past few seasons — especially by their standards. After making 22 straight playoff appearances, they’ve missed out in each of the last three seasons, and haven’t won a postseason series since 2017. 

With the team struggling, the fans have started to turn away. The Spurs averaged 15,014 fans per game this season, which ranked 27th in the league in raw attendance and 25th by percentage of arena capacity. Furthermore, they play in the 23rd smallest media market in the league, per SportsMediaWatch. And while Dejounte Murray made his first All-Star Game appearance last season, they have little in the way of star power. In fact, head coach Gregg Popovich is probably more well known than anyone on the roster. 

All of which is to say, it’s not surprising that the organization is exploring creative ways to increase the team’s exposure and find new fans. But whether the plan will work, or be extended beyond one season, remains to be seen. 

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