San Antonio Spurs fans poured through expanded visitor entrances and cheered their favorite players from new seats on Tuesday night, following a $110 million renovation of the 13-year-old AT&T Center on the city's Eastside home. The upgrades, carried out over the summer, include expanded visitor entrances and corridors throughout the five-level complex, new seats, a new audio system and a state-of-the-art video board with LED ribbons.
Bexar County contributed $85 million for the renovations, using funding from the 1999 voter-approved visitors tax that built the AT&T Center. The remaining costs were covered by the Spurs Sports and Entertainment Group.
“This was designed with the fans needs in mind, so you’ll see every level with a certain touch,” said Carlos Manzanillo, the communications manager for Spurs Sports & Entertainment. “The design elements were taken into consideration (and) we talked to our partners about the industry trends. We wanted to make sure these changes were impactful for the fans.”
Patrons can now move through the expanded fan shop more quickly. The dine-in Whataburger restaurant now offers a visitor's entrance to the interior. There are two new bars, and new food items like the Double Pig Mac & Cheese from Aramark, found on the Plaza Level and H-E-B Fan Zone Level. Fans seated on the Charter Level, Terrace Suites and at the SBC Terrace Restaurant can enjoy items like hand-stretched pizzas and Spurs-inspired hamburgers prepared by Levy Restaurants.
The Center’s soft opening on Sunday coincided with the Spurs' preseason game against the Detroit Pistons. Renovations are expected to be completed by the Spurs first home game of the season on Friday, Oct. 30 against the Brooklyn Nets.
The Spurs beat the Pistons 96-92 on Sunday, but lost on Tuesday to the Phoenix Suns, 104-84.
“In an increasingly competitive environment, it is imperative to San Antonio’s success to create new opportunities for the destination, such as investing in infrastructure,” said Casandra Matej, the executive director of the San Antonio Convention and Visitors Bureau.
The renovations throughout the Center were funded by Spurs Sports & Entertainment and the Bexar County Visitor Tax, which was passed by voters in 1999 to build the AT&T Center, which opened in 2002.
“The renovations at the AT&T Center will greatly enhance the overall fan and entertainment experience, which in turn, assists in our mission of encouraging visitation to San Antonio. The improvements also enhance the quality of life for residents that get to enjoy the venue’s outstanding amenities,” Matej added.
The AT&T Center hosts hundreds of major events in addition to Spurs games, including the San Antonio Stock Show and Rodeo, concerts, and the San Antonio Stars and the San Antonio Rampage (AHL) games. The Center will celebrate the completed renovations with a formal re-dedication and ribbon cutting ceremony during the first week of November.
*Top image: The AT&T Center renovations offer Spurs fans a better viewing and game experience. Photo by Lea Thompson.