Victor plum pick spur Spurs to build new digs


San Antonio Spurts exploring a new arena Image: AT&T Center, Atristan 77, CC BY-SA 3.0

After landing the French professional basketball player Victor Wembanyama as the No. 1 pick in the 2023 National Basketball Association (NBA) draft (US), the San Antonio Spurs are reportedly eyeing a new arena to hold the growing number of fans that will flock to watch the French phenom play.

‘Bleacher Report’ stated that the organization is exploring the possibility of developing a new arena in the downtown San Antonio area in Texas (US).

Victor Wembanyama is a French professional basketball player for the San Antonio Spurs of the National Basketball Association (NBA). Considered one of the greatest basketball prospects of his generation, he was selected first overall by the Spurs in the 2023 NBA draft. With a listed height of seven feet four inches (2.24 meters), Wembanyama is the tallest active NBA player.

New York (US)-based the National Basketball Association (NBA) is a professional basketball league in North America composed of 30 teams. It is one of the major professional sports leagues in the United States and Canada and is considered the premier professional basketball league in the world.

The NBA draft is an annual event dating back to 1947 in which the teams from the National Basketball Association (NBA) can draft players who are eligible and wish to join the league. Historically, the vast majority of players drafted are college players.

The San Antonio Spurs are an American professional basketball team based in San Antonio, Texas, US. The Spurs compete in the National Basketball Association (NBA) as a member of the league’s Western Conference Southwest Division. The team plays its home games at the AT&T Center in San Antonio.

The 19,000-capacity AT&T Center is a multipurpose indoor arena on the East side of San Antonio, Texas, United States. It is the home of the San Antonio Spurs of the National Basketball Association (NBA).

‘Bleacher Report’ further stated that the Spurs have been playing in the AT&T Center since 2002, it’s the building where the organization has seen most of its success. But with the team’s lease set to expire in 2032, it gives the organization plenty of time to seek public funding should they choose to move forward with plans for a new arena.

While the franchise remains silent on the topic, those throughout the business community in San Antonio have begun to hear chatter regarding a potential move.

Said Eddie Aldrete, who ran the winning campaign for public funding for the AT&T Center, “I think they’re doing some preliminary research to see if it would make sense. They wouldn’t want to start the conversation if the Math doesn’t add up.”

With the City’s Minor League Baseball (MiLB) team, the San Antonio Missions, also pushing for a new downtown stadium, the two teams could have their facilities built side by side and bring a huge economic boom to the downtown area.

That’s what was expected when the AT&T Center was first built, but it didn’t come to fruition with most fans driving in, parking and leaving when the game is over as there aren’t as many restaurants and bars in the area for people to hang out around.

However, there are a good number of people in the community who are not at all fans of the Spurs building a new arena, given how recently the AT&T Center came into existence.

One such opposer is the former Bexar County Judge Nelson Wolff –“That makes absolutely no (expletive) sense – the AT&T Center is a very good arena.”

The 19,000-seat arena was built for $245 million in 2002 and has since undergone hundreds of millions of dollars in renovations, most notably a $110 million facelift to all five levels back in 2015.

Not to mention, the Spurs are building their $500 million, 45-acre project, The Rock at La Cantera (the new $500 million sports performance and entertainment plaza for the Spurs on the Northwest side) in San Antonio that will include its new state-of-the-art training facility.

The current Bexar County Judge Peter Sakai seems to already have the ball rolling on how to keep the Spurs right where they are – “We’re already in the process of developing a strategy to keep the Spurs in the AT&T Center.”

The county officials are starting to discuss a visitors-tax election to pay for upgrades at the AT&T Center. One County Commissioner said that the arena needs up to $85 million in improvements “as a starting point”.

So, although it’s still just an exploratory measure, if the Spurs want to move to downtown it won’t be the easiest decision with the City trying to make the AT&T Center as attractive as possible.

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