Bexar County approves additional home away games for Spurs
Bexar County Commissioners on Tuesday voted to approve a letter amendment that will allow the Spurs to play two additional home games on the road this season as part of a one-year pilot program.
The existing county contract with the Spurs allows them to play two home games away, so the amendment pushes to four the number of home games they can play away this year.
Spurs executives said the additional road games will allow them to expand their market and fan base, including Mexico and Austin and the I-35 corridor.
Commissioners voted 4-1 for the letter of amendment. Commissioner Tommy Calvert, whose precinct is home to the AT&T Center where the Spurs play, was the sole no vote.
Calvert, who raised suspicions two weeks ago that the Spurs may be "testing the waters" for a move to Austin, said he voted no because the community has invested a lot in the team for them to play here.
He said he talked to the "shoeshine man" and the "folks who mow lawns" before casting his second no vote against the additional road games.
"I'm keeping my vote no because of the investment we have made for San Antonians," Calvert said.
Longtime County Judge Nelson Wolff, who joined Commissioners Marialyn Barnard, Rebeca Clay-Flores, and Justin Rodriguez, in voting for the proposal, fondly recalled the Spurs contributions to San Antonio and said the court needed to support the team's efforts to expand their base.
Wolff, who served as a state lawmaker, and councilman and mayor for San Antonio, reminded the court of the Spurs rise from the county arena and Alamodome as five-time NBA Champions.
"No other small market team has ever done that and it's a significant contribution to San Antonio. It put us on the international map," he said.
Wolff said if you went anywhere in the world and said "San Antonio," there's only one other thing they said right away, "Oh, the Spurs."
He said the Spurs have invested tens of millions of dollars to remain here and call San Antonio home.
In other action, commissioners:
- Heard an update on an ongoing traffic study to improve traffic flow and parking at the AT&T Center for the Spurs, the San Antonio Stock Show and Rodeo, and other major community events, such as graduations. Possible improvements, still in need of a funding source, would be an additional lane on AT&T Parkway from Houston Street to the Union Pacific Railroad tracks and a tunnel under the railroad tracks. The stock show and rodeo puts the biggest strain on traffic, attracting up to 100,000 visitors each day of its run in February.
- Approved a grant and development agreement between the county and the Roadrunner Foundation for $5 million over the next three fiscal years for a new fieldhouse at the Park West Campus of the University of Texas at San Antonio.
- Approved $2.5 million as the county's share for replacement and rehabilitation of the San Antonio Zoo water well, which is 100 years old and in danger of imminent failure. It supplies water to animals at the zoo. The City of San Antonio and the San Antonio River Authority are also partners in the well project at a total cost of around $4 million.
- Approved $2.6 million for improvements to Raymond Russell Park, one of the county's most popular parks, including new restrooms, playscape, and laser cut metal panels. About 250,000 residents visit the park in a typical year, according to county officials.
- Approved of the purchase of 16 new electric vehicles to replace other vehicles aging out of the county fleet at a cost of no more than $700,000 and as part of a fleet electrification pilot program.
- Approved the addition of two deputy constable positions and join Comal ISD in an interlocal agreement for a school resource officer.