For the second year in a row, Spurs CEO R.C. Buford stood in front of the Bexar County Commissioners court and made a case for the Spurs to host two home games in Austin and one overseas during each of the next two seasons, with the stated goal being to expand their regional footprint in South and Central Texas. The request was unanimously approved, which is a step up from last year, when the approval for the three away-from-home games only passed by a 3-2 vote, and that was with the stipulation that it would just be for one season, not the two the Spurs had initially asked for.
Spurs heading back to Austin for 2 more games next season and 2 more the year after that as approved unanimously by Bexar County Commissioners today. Court also approved 1 international game each of next 2 years, pending NBA approval.— Jim Lefko (@jimlefko) April 18, 2023
The final moments of the Spurs getting permission to have games outside of San Antonio in coming seasons.— JeffGSpursKENS5 (@JeffGSpursZone) April 18, 2023
RC Buford, team counsel at court. Court asks Spurs to look into having a game in the RG Valley, saying they "trust" the Spurs... #porvida #nba #gospursgo #sanantonio… pic.twitter.com/nfBB143rdD
One commissioner even suggested they consider having a game in the Rio Grande Valley (the region of Texas south of San Antonio, in between the Mexican border and the Gulf of Mexico, for our readers from out of the area). The one problem with that idea is there aren’t any NBA-sized indoor arenas, with the largest option being the American Bank Center in Corpus Christi with a capacity of 10,323, followed by Sames Auto Arena in Lardeo (9,622) and Bert Ogden Arena in Edinburg (9,000). Still, they would likely sell out and do well enough, assuming the goal is outreach over dollars. (Another option would be to consider doing a preseason game in the Valley, but that’s a topic for another day.)
Many will continue to push the narrative that this is a reason to worry that the Spurs are looking to move to Austin, but the county wouldn’t approve these measures if that’s what was happening. Also, the Spurs wouldn’t have just built a massive new practice facility in San Antonio if they had any plans to make their players commute 80 miles from Austin just to practice (or commute to Austin just for games, with both options including massive traffic headaches at all hours of the day).
In their three away-from-home games last season, the Spurs lost to the Miami Heat in Mexico City back in December before splitting their two Austin games in April, with a win against the Portland Trail Blazers and loss the Minnesota Timberwolves. The Spurs have stated they would prefer for the Austin games to come during the Rodeo Road Trip to cut back on travel. That is logistically difficult while having to work around the University of Texas Men’s and Women’s basketball teams at the Moody Center, but maybe they’ll work something out.
As for the overseas game, it has not been announced where that will be going forward. It could easily be in Mexico again, or the Spurs could use some of their popularity over in Europe, with Paris being an option (especially if they get Victor Wembanyama) or even Poland, which currently rates the Spurs as its most popular teams because — surprise, surprise — Jeremy Sochan. The Spurs got a lot of their overseas popularity from France and Argentina thanks to Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili, so imagine if they can get a hold on the Polish market as well...