The AT&T Center is a multi-purpose indoor arena just a few miles east of downtown San Antonio, Texas. The seating capacity is set at 18,418 for basketball, 16,151 for ice hockey, and 19,000 for concerts. The AT&T Center is the leading entertainment venue in San Antonio, hosting over 250 events annually.
AT&T Center is the third venue that the San Antonio Spurs have called home in their history. The San Antonio Spurs existence started in the now defunct ABA, when the Texas Chaparrals, moved to San Antonio. The Spurs played in the HemisFair Arena to begin the 1972-73 seasons, after the ABA-NBA merger, the San Antonio Spurs continued to play in the HemisFair Arena, until the AlamoDome was built downtown and opened for the 1993 season near the city’s Riverwalk. The AlamoDome was able to hold crowds over 30,000, but never really became an intimate home for the Spurs and their fans. In 1999 voters approved a new $175 million facility to house both the San Antonio Spurs and the San Antonio Stock Show and Rodeo with a lease of 25 years. Together the Spurs and Stock Show and Rodeo designed the arena into a first class entertainment venue. A few years later in 2002, the SBC Center was opened a few miles east from their former home and downtown San Antonio. The arena name changed a few years later due to the corporate sponsorship being bought by AT&T.
AT&T is no stranger to the corporate naming rights on a major sports arena as they have title names in the San Francisco Giants’ AT&T Park and the Dallas Cowboys’ AT&T Stadium. The Spurs Sports & Entertainment, in partnership with Bexar County, spearheaded $110 million in improvements and renovations to AT&T Center before the 2015-16 season began. Some of those improvements are listed throughout this review.
The FANFARE scale is our metric device for rating each stadium experience. It covers the following:
Each area is rated from 0 to 5 stars with 5 being the best. The overall composite score is the "FANFARE Score".
The food offering inside the AT&T Center rivals any stadium or arena in the country. The food and beverage area was included in recent renovations with enhancements such as 12,000 square feet of new food service equipment and systems, a new central beer system for better quality, colder, and larger selection, and new refrigerated beverage lines. The popular Levy Restaurant provides top variety of food with great taste.
You can find a complete listing on the AT&T Center website. The regular food fare of arena nachos ($6.75), hot dogs ($5), pretzels and peanuts ($5) is plentiful around the arena. The arena promotes combos as the 3-Point Meal; hot dog, soda, and popcorn or the Arena Nachos combo. However, the cost of a combo is the same if you just ordered them separately, so no real discount.
The arena has a full service Whataburger restaurant that is open even on non-game days.
One of the more specialty food items is the "The Big Cheese" a small stand located at section 112, serving thick grilled cheese sandwiches. The menu has five options, the Plain Jane (3 types of cheese only) , B.T. Cheese (the Plain Jane along with bacon and tomato), The Double Pig (pulled pork), and the Buffalo Chicken (chicken strips). All are freshly made while you wait. The cost of the sandwiches are $8.50, and a side of tomato soup can also be purchased for $5.
The Spud Spot, located near section 123, is another interesting food item. A baked potato for $8.50 with typical choices of toppings (bacon, cream cheese, butter), or double pig, broccoli cheese, or a Tex-Mex topping spud. There is also plenty of Mexican food throughout the arena.
The HEB Fan Zone located upstairs is a great place if you want to watch the game from a different perspective with tables overlooking the court below. There is Texas BBQ, Mexican, chicken tenders, and funnel cakes to try while in the HEB Fan Zone.
AT&T Center serves Coke products. Bottles of soda cost $4.50, while fountain drinks cost $4.75. The best soda deal is a bottomless souvenir cup for $7.50. If soda or beer isn't for you, then bottled water ranges from $4.50 to $6.25, and there are also sports drinks for sale for $5.
The beer prices vary not only in size, but also in quality with domestic beers and premium. A small domestic draft beer is $7.50 and a small premium draft will cost a dollar more. The cans of beer range from $7.75 to $8.75. The large souvenir cup of domestic suds will set you back $9 while a large premium draft will cost you $10.
Half Yard Margaritas are available for $13 along with wine for $7 a glass.
AT&T Center has some of the best food options in the NBA, so if you don't have time to visit the restaurants on the riverwalk, the arena will take care of whatever you are looking for.
The atmosphere for a Spurs game is one of the best in all sports. This may be due to the fact that the Spurs are San Antonio's only team in the four major sports leagues. As you enter AT&T Center, you'll get the festival feel that San Antonio has showcased to many tourists throughout the city.
The concourse has a very southwestern feel of colors with pastel green, orange, yellow, and blue. This is part of the design to showcase the talent of local artists from around San Antonio and across Texas. A collection of more than 200 pieces from 50 artists are on display throughout the arena. There were six additional works of art added in the renovation. One that is especially worthy of notice is located in section 208-209 in the HEB Fan Zone. It's called "Buckle Up" by Campbell Bosworth.
The arena configuration for basketball is one of the best in the NBA, especially considering this is a multi-use venue. The octagonal shape, rather than the usual oval, allows fans in the corner seats to face the court directly. There is only one level of suites, providing a great atmosphere by keeping the upper level close to the game and engaged. The fan atmosphere was upgraded even more during the recent renovations with a state of the art video and audio system. The new video board is four times the size of the previous video board.
The Spurs have one of the best fans bases in the NBA, and the energy and excitement during the game is far superior to many other NBA arenas. Coyote, the Spurs' mascot, along with the Spurs cheerleaders, the Silver Dancers, lead the game day with promotions such as t-shirt tosses, dance contests and other games during the breaks in the action.
The Spurs aren't the only entertainment to watch on game day. Located adjacent to the AT&T Center, is the Bud Light Courtyard is a service bar with drink specials and a wide range of concession products. The Bud Light Courtyard at the AT&T Center is home to the popular OVERTIME series of concerts after Spurs games and is now hosting some of the best local, regional and national artists. So after the game, you can continue the night by walking over to the courtyard for some live music.
There isn't much around the immediate area of the arena, except Freeman Coliseum next door as well as a golf course. However downtown San Antonio is only about four miles away. If you are new to the area, you may have a feeling that you are much further away from downtown than you actually are.
San Antonio is one of the great tourist destinations in Texas with the Alamo and the San Antonio Riverwalk about four miles west of the arena, either by I-35 or Houston Street. The downtown area and riverwalk is a perfect pregame or postgame destination. There are dozens of restaurants and bars such as Pat O'Brien's, Dick's Last Resort, the Iron Cactus Mexican Restaurant, Grill and Margarita Bar as well as several hotels. I suggest going to the riverwalk website for information on events, restaurants, and lodging.
San Antonio also offers Six Flags Fiesta and Sea World for tourists. These attractions are a little farther away than downtown, but very easy to get to by car.
The San Antonio Spurs are the only major sport team in the area. Add to this fact that the Spurs are one of the NBA's most successful teams in the last 20 years, and you have a fan base that is solid and supportive. The 2015-16 season tickets were sold out and a waiting list was made for the first time in team history. The Spurs attendance for the last five years for each game has been between 99%-100%. During the games the San Antonio Spurs fans are energetic, knowledgeable, engaged, and most importantly supportive, as the Spurs lost only one home game during the 2015-2016 regular season.
AT&T Center is located just a few miles east of downtown along E Houston Street and AT&T Parkway. The easiest route, if driving, is on either I-35 or I-10 and exiting onto AT&T Center Parkway, which is where you will find the parking lots located around the arena. There are seven parking lots providing about 7,000 parking spaces with prices ranging from $10-$15. There is pre paid parking available through Ticketmaster.
As for free parking, the area is not that good for pedestrians, so the cost of parking is well worth it. The ingress is easy, especially if you give yourself plenty of time. As for leaving you may end up leaving in a different direction in which you came, due to the traffic plan set up by the arena. The plan allows traffic to flow pretty easily, but as with any event be prepared for small traffic jams as you leave the parking area. The parking and traffic plan can be found on the AT&T Center parking website.
If you are staying in downtown San Antonio without transportation it might just be better to Uber or taxi to the AT&T Center. Taxis can be obtained by the west entrance near Freeman Coliseum.
Once you reach one of the entrance towers, the scanning with metal detectors and ticket scans is fast and easy.
The concourse is wide, well-lighted with plenty of signage for directions around and inside the AT&T Center. There are 32 restroom facilities, and all are exceptionally clean with easy in/out access.
As you go through the tunnel into the arena bowl, the brightness of the concourse disappears to a darker basketball seating area. There is plenty of room in the seating areas and any seat in the arena has a wonderful view of the court.
The AT&T Center Box Office is located at the southeast corner of the AT&T Center. You can access the box office by entering gate C (off Houston St) or gate D (off AT&T Center Pkwy). Parking for box office patrons during non-event hours is available in Lot 3. Tickets start at $10 and can go up to $1,000 for courtside seats during the regular season while playoffs tickets start at $55 for upper level seating. The arena design has the upper level seating feeling close to the court so tickets in the upper level offer a good view that still feels close to the action. Seeing a Spurs game at the AT&T Center is definitely a must for the sports fan.
The trophy display in the concourse is worth an extra point. The display includes newspapers from the day after each title, the championship banners, and retired numbers.
The Bud Light Courtyard, an indoor-outdoor space that sometimes offers postgame concerts with visits from the Silver Dancers is a great addition to the game day experience.
The arena was built so the set-up feels like it was a basketball-only arena, even though the arena is a multi-use arena.
San Antonio is a military town with the large military presence, so the Spurs always seem to show support to the military.
One final extra point to the San Antonio Spurs for continuing to be one of the premier NBA organizations, in a smaller market.
AT&T Center is one of the best NBA experiences, and is also one of the best overall sports experiences. The venue is almost flawless in providing an outstanding night of entertainment, combined with one of the best NBA teams, with a large supportive community. The AT&T Center could go into the NBA history books for being the all time best arena, so the historic motto of Remember the Alamo in San Antonio, might just need to be changed to Remember the AT&T Center.
The AT&T Center's slogan, "something for everyone", rings true in many regards. Opened in 2002, it is a state-of-the-art facility that provides a variety of seating options to meet your needs, as well as an eclectic selection of concession stands that offer local San Antonio themed restaurants. The four-sided LED scoreboard above center court dazzles you with its replays and 10-pixel graphics. Team banners and retired jerseys drape the rafters briefing you on the history of the San Antonio Spurs.
The AT&T Center is a great place to watch a game and the arena really stands out for it's vibrant concourse and terrific food options. What really appealed to me was how the designers incorporated the feel of San Antonio in the concourse with festive RiverWalk design that had a lot of bright colors. The food is fantastic here with so many options and a lot of great Tex-Mex. There's also several dining options and the HEB FanZone (similar to a sports bar) is actually incorporated into the design of the interior as it overlooks the court. However, this also creates a bit of a negative appeal as I saw a lot of fans just hanging out here during the game instead of in their seats.
Despite being located in the city, it's kind of on the outskirts of downtown and the lack of neighborhood is disappointing, but it also allows for very easy access to the arena. Parking is abundant and simple and I didn't have any issues arriving or leaving.
The overall interior set-up is solid and the shape seems to be designed with a focus on basketball. Seats were also very comfortable and wide. Overall, AT&T Center and the Spurs provide a great NBA experience.
There are few sports venues worldwide which can put together the many pieces of the puzzle to make a perfect sports experience. When the AT&T Center hosts a San Antonio Spurs game, fans find out that that perfection is attainable. Whether it’s the immaculately clean arena (from seating areas, to concourse, to restrooms), the wide variety of concession items, or the passionate Spurs fanbase, there’s little doubt that your visit to the AT&T Center will be one of the best sporting experiences you’ve ever had.
There's no doubt about it, the AT&T Center is the best arena in the NBA. It doesn't matter where you sit or stand you will have a great view of the court. The Fan Zone & Bud Light court yard make the fan experience that more fun.
The San Antonio Spurs might hold the record for shortest time playing in a new facility as they spent just nine seasons in the Alamodome, a cavernous facility that always made their home games seem poorly attended, even when they had over 30,000 for some playoff games. They first played there in 1993, but within a few years, the club wanted to move to a more intimate facility. In 2000, an agreement was reached to build a new arena for basketball, hockey, and the annual rodeo. Located a few miles east of downtown, the SBC Center was opened in 2002. When SBC bought AT&T three years later, the name of the arena was changed and it is now one of several venues that uses this corporate sponsor, including the ballpark in San Francisco and the football complex in Dallas.
The Spurs are perhaps the most understated team in NBA history, having quietly won five championships since 1999 with Tim Duncan, the least controversial star the league has ever seen. Fortunately for fans, their arena is similar in many respects: clean, smartly designed, and doing things the right way. If there were a championship for best venue in the league, it would be hard to top the AT&T Center.
AT&T Center is definitely one of if not the best NBA arena. I believe it is the best with great sight lines, cheap ticket prices, a great area, San Antonio offers it all. As well you get to see one of the best teams in the NBA over the past 10 years.
My family and I frequent the AT&T center, mostly during wnba season and some spurs games. For the most part the food and drinks are good and prices are reasonable. My only complaint is the popcorn, it is pretty bad. It comes out hard, stale and cold. In comparison, the popcorn at the Rim IMAX is some of the best I've tasted.
The wife and I decided to make the trip to the AT&T Center to see Timmy play before he hangs it up. I cannot describe the atmosphere at the AT&T Center for game day. The fans show up and are LOUD and PROUD. The arena spares no expense in assuring the fans a great time, whether it's their first game or 100th game. The staff were extremely helpful and courteous, even going as far as to assist fans to their seats who couldn't find their way to them on their own. The food was tremendous and not too pricey. The concourse level showcases all of the Spurs achievements as well as their "roommates" the Rampage (AHL Hockey) and Silver Stars (WNBA). Also on display are the 5 Larry O'Brien Trophies along with copies of each of the championship rings that the Spurs have won where the fans can have their pictures taken with them. After the game, the ushers will direct fans (if needed) to a line where there are cabs ready to take fans home.
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