Spurs celebrate triumphant 50th anniversary celebration at Alamodome with NBA record attendance

Spurs celebrate triumphant 50th anniversary celebration at Alamodome with NBA record attendance

Spurs celebrate triumphant 50th anniversary celebration at Alamodome with NBA record attendance

The Spurs broke an NBA record on Friday with 68,323 fans visiting the Alamodome, marking the largest attendance in regular season history!

S. ANTONIO β€” A “Back Home in the Dome” sign greeted thousands of people as they made their way through the maze of stone walkways leading to the gates of the cavernous Alamodome.

Once inside, viewers found surprises seemingly around every corner.

While an NBA game was going on below in what looked like a small hardwood rectangle carefully tucked into a huge recess, nostalgic celebrations began in all other parts of the building. San Antonio hosted the Alamodome’s first NBA competition since leaving the stadium after the 2001-2002 season, losing Friday to the Golden State Warriors 144-113 while breaking the league’s attendance record of 68,323 per hand.

β€œThe fans had fun even though we were getting ours [butts] kicked,” said Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich. “They seemed to be having a great time, so there must have been a lot of beer sales there.”

Apparently, the result on the court meant little, given the history and longing created on a special night when San Antonio successfully held the cornerstone of the season’s 50th anniversary celebrations. Soccer-savvy South Texas fans confirmed this, starting a cheery wave around the stadium with 10:32 left in the game, despite the hosts trailing on 27.

A 94-by-50-foot NBA court that fell in the middle of a massive soccer building doesn’t offer a good view to watch the action. The franchise knew it (it’s one of the reasons it’s playing at the AT&T Center now), and so did the fans. But interest in the game at the Alamodome, the team’s home arena when it won its first title in 1999 and the site of Tim Duncan’s Hall of Fame debut in 1997 and Finals MVP Tony Parker four years later, has not waned.

The club announced it had sold 63,592 tickets on Wednesday, and the next day said it would increase capacity at the Dome to 68,000 and issue additional tickets for general and single seats with restricted views.

Michael C. Wright reports from the Alamodome, explaining how the atmosphere was built ahead of Spurs’ record-setting night.

The fans got it all, and these general admission tickets weren’t cheap at $199 each. In fact, even the Spurs assistant coaches couldn’t find tickets, of which there are usually plenty.

So fans in San Antonio showed up, making it clear that they wanted more to be in the building, remembering, and playing a part in making history than watching a young, struggling team from less than ideal locations.

In the meantime, the organization understood the task and presented its rich history in the Dome, which was fully exploited on Friday. In the past, the club separated the court from the rest of the empty arena with a massive floor-to-ceiling blue curtain.

Not this time, that’s how San Antonio crammed so many fans into the hall.

Just before reaching pitch level, fans lined up outside the north-west locker room for the “Spurs Locker Room Experience”, which featured a replica of the locker room designed to mimic the locations the team had stayed during their tenure at the Alamodome (1993-2002). ).

Murals of former Spurs from the team’s 50-year run plastered most of the hall’s walls, with enough pictures of Popovich dotted around the Dome to make a coach quip, “Take ’em off.” On one side of the Alamodome, near the all-seater area with 20 cocktail tables and a pair of heavily staffed bars, a parade-like display featured full-sized replicas of each of the team’s five championship trophies.

Alamodome employees willingly offered to take pictures of fans who wanted to pose in front of the equipment.

Parker circled the game before the tipoff, greeting friends and fans alike, while Hall of Famer Manu Ginobili waved to the crowd in the second quarter from the box as Dome cameras showed his face on the scoreboard. Warriors head coach Steve Kerr was rewarded with long ovations from the crowd after the welcome video showed highlights from his four seasons with the Spurs, including the 1999 championship.

Avery Johnson greeted the crowd from Center Court in the second quarter after videotaping a tribute and ovation.

Hall of Famer David Robinson, who once recorded a quadruple-double at the Alamodome, addressed the fans just before the start of the fourth quarter to officially announce that San Antonio had broken the all-time attendance record.

“Just being in the dome, we had a glass of wine last night and connected with some old players: Sean Elliott, Avery Johnson, some coaches,” Kerr said. β€œ[Spurs CEO] RC Buford was there, family members. I think the Spurs are the best team I’ve ever seen in terms of staying engaged with their former players and really creating an environment that makes everyone proud to be part of the franchise.

San Antonio did the same on Friday for fans in attendance.

According to Casey Heverling, senior vice president of facilities and general manager of the AT&T Center, planning for the franchise’s historic night took nearly three years. While contemplating how to celebrate the franchise’s 50th anniversary, someone during a brainstorming session asked, “What’s the all-time NBA attendance record?”

“We did some quick research and came up with the idea of ​​having a game here and trying to beat that record,” said Heverling.

Sounds easy enough, right?

Well, for the next three years, the Spurs worked with their own staff at the AT&T Center on the operational side, as well as the host Alamodome, before finally drawing in the NBA, which had to approve the venue, making sure it was up to league specification. Throughout the process, the team had to move its floor and supply special basketball hoops and scoring systems that arrived from all over the world, including equipment and technology left over from the team’s December game in Mexico.

They also built custom risers, decorations, and signage.

Perhaps the most difficult challenge was building the technology required to connect to the NBA’s private networks.

“Nowadays, everything is done online over the internet, Wi-Fi, and so on,” said Heverling. β€œIn general, there is a 100% private, protected network that covers all basketball arenas where the NBA plays, including the current one. We had to make sure we could bring this network in here because it leads back to the NBA headquarters in Secaucus, NJ

“So it’s scoring, timing, stats, even broadcasting, it’s all connected to this secure network. So it was a big hurdle to figure out how to connect to this from a building that normally doesn’t.

Some of the major pieces of equipment arrived at the Dome last Friday, and by Sunday the crew was installing additional lighting, sound equipment and technology, “working around the clock” to properly prepare the Astrodome for readiness on Friday when the doors opened at 4:00 p.m. 30 p.m. CST.

Heverling says that “it is no exaggeration to say that thousands of man-hours were spent planning and executing this event.”

Hard work was evident. The record has been set.

* * *

Michael C. Wright is a senior writer for NBA.com. You can send him an e-mail herefind his archive here and follow him Twitter.

The views on this site do not necessarily reflect those of the NBA, its clubs or Warner Bros. discovery.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *