Bexar County Commissioners proceed on contract for more Spurs home games in Austin, Mexico
Bexar County Commissioners on Tuesday directed staff to amend contract language that would allow the Spurs to play four home games away on the road next season as part of a pilot program to expand their fan base in Austin and Mexico.
The Spurs wanted commissioners to allow them to play four home games away for each of the next two seasons. Commissioner Justin Rodriguez countered with a motion to allow the team to play four home games away for next season only as part of a one-year pilot program to judge fan response.
Commissioner Tommy Calvert, whose precinct is home of the Spurs, said some of his constituents suggested the team is "testing the waters" for a move to Austin and he questioned the lack of local minority ownership in the team.
Calvert and Commissioner Marialyn Barnard voted to table the issue for further review.
The motion for more home games on the road barely passed with a 3-2 vote, which prompted County Judge Nelson Wolff to warn Bobby Perez, the Spurs chief legal counsel.
"That's not a good sign. That's not a good sign. It shows you there is 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," Wolff said.
Wolff also noted the absence in the court of Spurs principal owner Peter J. Holt and General Manager R.C. Buford. He suggested both men come to court for the next vote on the issue.
The judge said returning to the issue in court in a couple of weeks will allow more time for all parties, including fans, to offer their input on the request.
The Spurs legal counsel told commissioners the team wants to call the city home for another 50 years. The home team designation on the road means the Spurs could reap the revenue from those games. He also said expanding Spurs country may help land a new naming rights contract for their home to replace the AT&T Center.
Perez said the Spurs have big followings in Austin and Monterrey especially. He said fans in Austin may not want to make the drive down a congested I-35 to see the team.
He added the road home games could be played in Austin at the Moody Center, in Mexico City, and at the Alamodome.
In other action, commissioners:
- Created the Bexar County Department of Preventative Health and Human Services.
- Approved a grant application for $500,000 to fund a Prevention and Response Program for the Office of Violence against
- Women from Oct. 1, 2022 through Sept. 30, 2025.
- Approved a grant application for $1.7 million for local indigent legal defense, including 8 new positions, from Feb. 1, 2022 through Sept. 30, 2025.
- Approved a $4 million project for a Pearsall Road bridge project in Precinct 1.