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NBA’s Spurs given green light for more games outside San Antonio

Featured image credit: prayitnophotography/CC BY 2.0/Edited for size

Featured image credit: prayitnophotography/CC BY 2.0/Edited for size

The San Antonio Spurs NBA basketball team has been given the green light to play two games in Austin and one overseas for each of the next two seasons.

The team has played at AT&T Center (pictured) in San Antonio since the arena opened in 2002. AT&T Center is owned by Bexar County and a non-relocation agreement is in place until the 2031-32 season which holds penalties ranging from $84m (£67m/€77m) to $130m for breaking it, depending on the year.

The team is looking to expand its fan base by playing games in Austin and Mexico City. In May last year, the Spurs received the initial green light to play more home games away from AT&T Center for the 2022-23 season.

The team played in Mexico City in December before playing two sell-out games at Austin’s Moody Center earlier this month. In January, the Spurs set a single-game attendance record for the NBA as 68,323 fans watched their game against the Golden State Warriors at San Antonio’s Alamodome.

Last year, Bexar County commissioners approved the Spurs’ plans to increase the number of games it could play away from AT&T Center during the 2022-23 season, with a 3-2 vote in favour.

The vote caused division at the time, with then-County Judge Nelson Wolff questioning the Spurs’ long-term intentions amid talk among fans of a potential relocation to Austin. The latest approval granted this week passed with little opposition, with new County Judge Peter Sakai confident that the Spurs are committed to remaining in San Antonio.

“I take them at their word,” he said, according to the San Antonio Express-News. “Bexar County is their home for the long haul. I believe today’s action is about trust, and I trust the San Antonio Spurs.”

The team itself has insisted that it is committed to remaining in San Antonio. Spurs chief executive R.C. Buford told county commissioners: “San Antonio is our home. We believe as we expand our brand, it will only bring great things to San Antonio and Bexar County.”