Spurs History: New venues, same home-court advantage for Spurs
By Pablo A. Dávila
A trip down memory lane of the arenas that have provided the San Antonio Spurs one of the best home-court advantages in the NBA since 1973.
While the NBA works on plans to resume the 2019-2020 season it is apparent that there will be no more regular-season home games played by the San Antonio Spurs. So for those hoping to watch a home game in the near future their plans are indefinitely postponed by COVID-19.
Despite the lack of home games in the foreseeable future, when play resumes Spurs fans will watch and enjoy more memorable and heartbreaking moments. Every fan has an individual story for becoming a fan of our beloved San Antonio Spurs. It may be from watching your favorite Spurs player, and there have been lots of great options to choose from, the Spurs being the closest (and only) professional sports team to choose from, or it was a way of bonding with family and/or friends.
Whatever the reasons, being a fan of the San Antonio Spurs has brought great joy, and some heartache, to Spurs fans. Whether those games were watched at home, at a local restaurant/bar, across the globe, or live in the arena, they are memories to be cherished.
And although the Spurs arenas may not hold the allure of Madison Square Garden or the history of The Forum or The Boston Garden, the Spurs and the arenas they’ve played in have a great history and many memorable moments for San Antonio Spurs fans. As we continue to wait for San Antonio Spurs basketball, let’s take a look back at the different arenas that have housed our favorite team over the years.
Next: The loudest arena in the NBA
San Antonio Spurs historical arenas – HemisFair Arena
It all begins at HemisFair Arena – the loudest arena in the NBA.
Quick facts (courtesy of BALLPARKS.com)
- HemisFair Arena
- Opened: April 6, 1968
- Closed: May 30, 1995 (demolished June 1995)
- Spurs arena: 1973 – 1993
- Capacity: initially 10,146 ; addition of upper deck increased to 16,000
While many of today’s Spurs fans personally did not have the privilege of attending games at this arena, there are still generations of fans who have fond memories of HemisFare Arena. We asked fans whose families had season tickets and were fortunate enough to attend games at the Spurs’ first arena for their insight. From their recollection what comes to mind: Baseline Bums, the giant pillars, and the “loudest place I’ve ever been ’till this day.”
For the unfamiliar, Spurs’ Baseline Bums have been a fixture for the team since 1973. Allowing dedicated fans to be that close to the sidelines is a great way to bring energy and pump up the crowd.
Oh, and those giant pillars! Although fans were able to get into the arena at a bargain price of $5 per ticket the giant pillars slightly obstructed the view.
The combination of Baseline Bums, the Spurs exciting on the court talent of George Gervin days, and other crowd favorites (mariachi bands, etc.), were all ingredients in creating an elixir that rightfully earned the reputation as the loudest arena in the NBA.
For a trip down memory lane of HemisFair days visit this SA Express article (if you don’t have a subscription you can still scroll through the pictures – you’ll see those giant pillars and Baseline Bums) and Remembering HemisFair Arena on YouTube.
Next: A giant of a stadium
San Antonio Spurs historical arenas – The Alamodome
The Spurs transitioned from the loudest arena in the NBA to one of the largest in sports.
Quick facts (courtesy of BALLPARKS.com)
- Opened: May 15, 1993
- Spurs arena: 1993 – 2002
- Capacity: 20,662 with extended capacity up to 39,500
There two applicable quotes that come to mind when describing the Alamodome: Everything Is Bigger In Texas and Bigger Isn’t Always Better.
The Alamodome is enormous. If seating was a problem at HemsFair that argument wasn’t even a thought when talking about the Alamodome. If you thought there were rowdy fans at the HemisFair well those same fans AND their cousins AND friends were at the Alamodome.
The problem was that the stadium was too big as it was built as a multifunctional arena, therefore the intimacy of an NBA arena was lost. Despite this, it was a great place for fans and provided lots of memories.
I was fortunate enough to attend my first Spurs game at the Alamodome for the opening night of 1994-1995 season against the Golden State Warriors, and still have that ticket stub to this day. This was a memorable evening as the excessive fireworks set off the sprinkler system and caused a long game delay. Those who got soaked got a free shirt and a great story to share out of it.
Other memorable events the Alamodome hosted were the 1996 NBA All-Star Game with the teal jalapeño jerseys and of course the first NBA finals games in San Antonio in 1999.
The Alamodome had its fair share of history as the Spurs arena and although the place is enormous its time as the Spurs home court was short-lived.
Next: The present-day arena
San Antonio Spurs historical arenas – The AT&T Center
Quick facts (courtesy of Inside Arenas)
- AT&T Center
- Opened: October 18, 2002
- Spurs arena: 2002- present
- Capacity: 18,500
In terms of production the AT&T Center has been ringing off the hook since the day it opened. The Spurs have yet to miss the playoffs since residing in their new home. Despite downsizing in capacity the new arena comes with new amenities and is exclusive to all Spurs needs.
It has hosted tons of games into May and June with the deep playoff runs the Spurs have been accustomed to. There have been many great wins and several heart-wrenching losses. Thankfully the AT&T Center will continue to be the Spurs home arena for the foreseeable future.
These three stadiums have provided a lot of great memories for Spurs fans young and old alike. Whether fans attend a Spurs home or away game, watch on TV, stream online, or listen to them on the radio, the Spurs will continue to provide many more memorable moments.
Please share in the comments sections below of your particular memories attending or watching Spurs games, championship parades, or something else that has drawn you into the Spurs fanbase.