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San Antonio's AT&T Center Set For Major Makeover; County, Spurs To Share The Cost

Eileen Pace

Coming next summer to San Antonio: a new-look, new-feel arena that promises to give all those who enter a viewing experience they won’t forget. Welcome to the newly renovated AT&T Center, or, at least, welcome to the promise of it.

Bexar County Commissioners Tuesday authorized Spurs Sport & Entertainment to move forward on plans to design and build an enhanced arena, with county oversight.

Quoted on nba.com, Bexar County Judge Nelson Wolff said, as the owners of the facility, it was the county’s responsibility not just to make sure the arena was maintained properly, but also to ensure it “provides the best possible experience for everyone who enjoys games, shows and the rodeo there.”

The revamp, which will take place over next summer after the Spurs’ season ends, will be highlighted by slick, wraparound LED boards on the southwest, southeast and northeast towers.

  Bexar County Economic Development Director David Marquez said the most visible technology upgrade would be the center home scoreboard.

“A 15-year-old TV is not exactly state of the art,” he said. “HD and all of these other factors are driving a need to make sure they can keep up with both the broadcast side as well as the fan expectation side.”

The renovation also will include updated suites, better facilities for fans in terms of regular seating, and expanded concourses.

“That plaza level upstairs will have new bars that will open into the bowl,” Marquez said. “Currently, those corners of the bowl are closed, and if you go out to get something to eat or drink, you step out. But now you’ll be able to see within the bowl. This is a concept that’s becoming quite attractive among NBA facilities.”

Most of the funding for the $101.5 million project will be borne by the county’s contribution of $85 million. This money comes from a fund made possible through a voter-approved Bexar County visitor tax, established in 1999 to build the arena.

“In 2008,” said Wolff, “voters approved the reinvestment in this facility and we want to follow through by sustaining it as a first-class venue.”

The remaining $16.5 million will come from Spurs Sports and Entertainment, which also owns the San Antonio Silver Stars and the San Antonio Rampage. The Stars will play in the Freeman Coliseum during renovations.

Eileen Pace is a veteran radio and print journalist with a long history of investigative and feature reporting in San Antonio and Houston, earning more than 50 awards for investigative reporting, documentaries, long-form series, features, sports stories, outstanding anchoring and best use of sound.