Congressman Gonzales introduces bill to keep Spurs moving
“For years, the Spurs have been a vital part of San Antonio’s identity,” Congressman Gonzales said.
SAN ANTONIO — After months of speculation that Austin could snatch the Spurs from San Antonio, U.S. Representative Tony Gonzales will introduce a bill that would make it almost impossible for the franchise to leave.
In an effort to keep the Spurs in the city of Alamo, Gonzales drafted the Strengthening State Enterprise for Sports Retention (SPURS) Act to discourage relocation.
The bill would allow professional sports teams to relocate without local authority approval only if the owner of the team’s arena breaches its lease, experts deem the arena inadequate or the franchise loses business. silver five years in a row.
“I love Spurs, but it’s not personal,” he told KENS 5 on Friday. “It’s business.”
Discussions of relocating to Austin have intensified as the team has partnered with more Austin-based companies and individuals, such as Michael Dell, Self Financial and Joe Gebbia, the billionaire co-founder and chairman of ‘Airbnb based in Austin.
“We’re beyond a ‘what if,'” Gonzales said. “We are going to play three games elsewhere.”
Gonzales says he doesn’t support Spurs’ plan to play two home games at Austin’s new Moody Center and another home game in Mexico City.
Spurs owners argue their home-away-from-home idea is a forward-thinking strategy designed to claim new fans and new territory.
“Playing in front of our Austin fans for the very first time during the regular season, returning to Mexico City and hosting a historic celebration at the Alamodome will each be exciting times for our entire organization,” Spurs CEO RC Buford said. . “We are grateful to our loyal fans across our region and thrilled to have the opportunity to play in front of them as part of our 50th anniversary season.
But Gonzales argues San Antonio’s economy suffers when the Spurs play elsewhere.
“No other team does anything like this,” Gonzales said. “Sounds good…but it doesn’t pass the smell test.”
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The measurement would require team owners to give written notice of their intention to move a year later. In the meantime, the owners should offer their team for sale at fair market value to buyers who say they wouldn’t move the team.
In some cases, relocating franchises would have to pay back the tax breaks and financial assistance they received in their original location.
The bill also allows local governments to sue outgoing teams for damages.
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“Whether it’s a carrot or a stick, (the Spurs) have to stay in the city of San Antonio and I’m all about making sure that happens,” Gonzales said.
The representative hopes to gain support from members of Congress representing markets that have recently lost professional sports teams, including Seattle, St. Louis and San Diego.