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San Antonio Spurs owner Peter J. Holt responded Tuesday to growing fears about his team moving to Austin.
Holt decided to speak out and ease worries for those in San Antonio after the Spurs asked for permission last week to play four home games outside of San Antonio.
“I want to reassure you that the Spurs are in San Antonio to stay,” Holt wrote in a message posted on Twitter.
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“The Spurs are much a part of San Antonio as San Antonio is a part of the Spurs,” he wrote. “My family became involved in the Spurs in the 90s because there was a real threat that the team would be moved. We would not let that happen then, and we will not let that happen now.”
“There is no other team in the NBA like the Spurs and no other home like San Antonio. Your team, our team, together we are the silver and black. Spurs fans – we are here to stay, Por Vida,” the message continued, without the mention of Austin.
The Spurs currently play home games at AT&T Center, which is owned by Bexar County. The team has a non-relocation agreement with the county that only allows the Spurs to play two home games outside of San Antonio.
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But last Tuesday, county commissioners gave initial approval to a one-year pilot that would let the Spurs play four games away from the AT&T Center for the 2022-23 season – with a goal of expanding their fan base in Austin and Mexico. The road home games could be played in Austin’s Moody Center, in Mexico City, and at the Alamodome.
The motion for more home games on the road barely passed with a 3-2 vote, which prompted a warning from County Judge Nelson Wolff to 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, according to Texas Public Radio.
The Spurs legal counsel said the move could help the franchise acquire a naming rights contract to replace the AT&T Center. They noted that the franchise would still be able to keep revenue on the road games because of the home team designation, the outlet reported.
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But many are still worried that Austin – amid its soaring popularity and influx of large corporations – could snatch their team away. San Antonio was stung a few years ago when Major League Soccer opted to expand in Austin instead of the Alamo City.
County commissioners will meet again in a couple of weeks for the next vote on the issue.
The Associated Press contributed to this report
San Antonio Spurs owner Peter J. Holt responds to growing worries of Austin relocation | WSN[Whatsapp Status New]