By Richard Oliver
When the San Antonio Spurs hosted the Golden State Warriors on January 13, it may have represented just another regular-season game during a down year in the standings. But for the team’s fans, it meant so much more than that.
It was a celebration of all that came before.
That party, billed as “Back Home in the Dome,” drew an NBA regular-season attendance record of 68,323 to the spacious Alamodome. That total easily surpassed the previous league mark of 62,046, set when the Atlanta Hawks hosted Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls at the Georgia Dome in March 1998.
“Once again, the diversity of the multi-purpose Alamodome was on full display,” said Patricia Muzquiz Cantor, Director of Convention & Sports Facilities for the City of San Antonio. “Over three decades, it has served as an iconic, unique destination for performers and fans alike, lifting the quality of life for our historic community. And there’s so much more to come.”
The ballgame represented the official recognition of the Spurs’ 50th anniversary in San Antonio, a tenure that has included five NBA titles and, at one point, a league-record 18 consecutive 50-win seasons. The Alamodome, enjoying one of the most remarkable stretches of its 30-year existence, hosted the franchise’s games from 1993-2002, including the Spurs’ first championship in 1999.
Those who attended the game found a far different set-up than the last time the team competed at the Alamodome, located just east of downtown San Antonio. In the past, the ballclub had separated the 94-by-50-foot wide court from the rest of the arena with a massive blue curtain that hung from floor to rafters. This time, the court was placed directly in the middle of the Dome’s rectangular floor, built to best accommodate football, with no curtains to be seen anywhere.
The game, won 144-113 by the Warriors, was nationally televised by ESPN just two weeks after the Alamodome was spotlighted by the same network for the Valero Alamo Bowl college football game.
The Alamodome will officially celebrate its 30th anniversary May 15 as part of a three-day celebration that will include a concert by Red Hot Chili Peppers on May 17. Also announced for 2023 are a concert by global superstar P!nk (Sept. 25), and the February debut of the new XFL spring football league co-owned by actor Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson. More events will be unveiled in coming days.
“Simply put, the Alamodome is a valued asset that has put our community on the map, time and again, and improved our quality of life on so many levels,” San Antonio Mayor Ron Nirenberg said.
The Alamodome will host its fifth Men’s Final Four in 2025, and last month was selected to host the Women’s Final Four in 2029.
The Alamodome just completed one of the most successful years in its history. In the final five months of 2022 alone, the stadium hosted five headline stadium concerts that drew nearly 230,000 fans and generated more than $31 million in gross receipts. The events included the Motley Crue and Def Leppard Stadium Tour, Bad Bunny, Rammstein, Grupo Firme and Elton John.
The Bad Bunny and Elton John shows were part of the two largest tours in the world in 2023. The Bad Bunny concert broke the facility mark for gross ticket sales for one show when more than $11 million was recorded for the Sept. 8 performance. A crowd of 54,000 was on hand for the show.
Additionally, the Dome saw more than 150,000 spectators attend seven University of Texas at San Antonio football games, including the Conference USA championship on Dec. 2. In total, the Alamodome held 135 event days in 2022, with a similar schedule for 2023, exceeding the average of 115 event dates in previous years.
Roughly $109 million in capital improvements are planned for the facility by 2028.
Richard Oliver is Communications Manager at City of San Antonio Convention & Sports Facilities.