Texas Congressman Introducing Legislation To Keep The NBA Spurs In San Antonio

Spurs ownership is playing three home games outside the market in 2022-23.

Congressman Tony Gonzalez has introduced legislation that would attempt to block any sports team owner from leaving a market. Gonzalez, a Republican from the San Antonio, Texas area, is concerned that the ownership group of the National Basketball Association’s San Antonio Spurs is thinking about bolting the city and moving its base of operations to Austin, Texas. Gonzalez’s proposal would require a sports team ownership group to give a year’s notice if it wants to relocate and would allow a local government to ban relocation. Additionally, the proposal would force a sports team ownership thinking of relocating to give up financial support or incentives such as special tax incentives or arena or stadium financing. A local government could also sue a sports team ownership group for damages.

Gonzalez is concerned that Spurs minority owner Michael Dell, an Austin resident, who owns a global computer manufacturing company, might over the course of time convince his fellow Spurs partners to leave San Antonio and set up shop in Austin. The Spurs ownership group has scheduled the team to play two home dates in Austin and another in Mexico City this year. The team will also play one home game at the San Antonio-owned domed stadium. The Spurs ownership group claims by playing out of market home games it can expand its TV reach and generate maximum TV revenues. That notion makes no sense unless the NBA gives Spurs ownership the entire nation of Mexico as part of its home market. The Strengthening Public Undertakings for Retaining Sports Act or SPURS Act would establish relocation requirements. A team owner would have to lose money five years in a row and prove that its stadium is inadequate or that a local government is flouting its agreements with the team. Gonzalez’s proposal is going nowhere in Congress.

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