HemisFair Arena
San Antonio Convention Center Arena
Location601 HemisFair Way
San Antonio, Texas 78203
Coordinates29°25′12″N 98°29′00″W / 29.420134°N 98.483299°W / 29.420134; -98.483299Coordinates: 29°25′12″N 98°29′00″W / 29.420134°N 98.483299°W / 29.420134; -98.483299
OwnerCity of San Antonio
CapacityBasketball: 16,057[1]
SurfaceMulti-surface
Construction
Broke ground1966
OpenedApril 6, 1968[3]
Renovated1977-78[2]
Expanded1977-78[2]
ClosedMay 31, 1995
DemolishedJune 1995[3]
ArchitectNoonan, Krocker & Dockery
General contractorLyda/H. A. Lott
Tenants
Houston Rockets (NBA) (1972–73)
San Antonio Spurs (ABA/NBA) (1973–93)
San Antonio Force (AFL) (1992)

HemisFair Arena (also known as the San Antonio Convention Center Arena) was an indoor arena located in San Antonio, Texas. It was home to the ABA/NBA's San Antonio Spurs from 1973 to 1993 and the San Antonio Force of the AFL during the 1992 season, their only year of existence. The Houston Rockets also played home games at the arena during the 1972-73 NBA season.

History

Construction

The arena was originally built as part of the 1968 HemisFair. The facility was located in Downtown San Antonio near the Tower of the Americas, one of the most recognizable landmarks in the city. HemisFair Arena and the Tower of the Americas were constructed by a joint venture of two contractors—Lyda Inc. of San Antonio and H. A. Lott, Inc. of Houston.

As home of the San Antonio Spurs

The arena initially held 10,146 fans for basketball. The San Antonio Spurs moved to the arena after the American Basketball Association Dallas Chaparrals franchise relocated following the 1972–1973 season. The February 1974 arrival of Hall of Famer George Gervin helped transform the franchise. The Spurs were such a success as an ABA franchise that they became a National Basketball Association franchise following the ABA-NBA merger in 1976.[4]

The Spurs played their first game at the arena on October 10, 1973, losing to the San Diego Conquistadors 121-106[5] in front of 5,879.[3] Throughout its lifespan, it was considered one of the loudest arenas in the NBA.[6] As Spurs games began regularly selling out, new seating was added in 1978 by raising the roof of the arena, allowing the construction of an upper deck, increasing the capacity to more than 16,000.[1] While the renovation boosted capacity, it did result in a large number of obstructed view seats in the lower levels due to the support beams required for the upper deck. In 1986, the White Way Sign/Sony JumboTron center-hung video scoreboard was introduced, remaining at the arena for the rest of its life.

Final events

HemisFair Arena was torn down in 1995, two years after the Spurs moved to the Alamodome in 1993. The last Spurs game at HemisFair Arena took place May 20, 1993, when the Spurs lost to the Phoenix Suns in Game 6 the Western Conference semifinals in the 1993 NBA Playoffs on a last-second jump shot by league MVP Charles Barkley.[5] The last ticketed event to be held at the facility was a Van Halen concert March 25, 1995.[3] The last event at HemisFair Arena was a graduation for a local high school, Thomas Jefferson High School, on May 30, 1995.[3] The site is now the location of an expansion to the adjacent Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center.

Seating Capacity

The seating capacity for basketball was:[7]

Years Capacity
1968–1976
10,146
1976–1978
10,446
1978–1979
16,055
1980–1981
16,114
1981–1987
15,800
1987–1988
15,770
1988–1990
15,861
1990–1991
15,908
1991–1995
16,057

Notable concerts

References

  1. ^ a b NBA Arenas
  2. ^ a b HemisFair Arena
  3. ^ a b c d e Briggs, Jerry (August 28, 2007). "Places of the Heart: HemisFair Arena". San Antonio Express-News. Archived from the original on October 11, 2007. Retrieved December 14, 2020.
  4. ^ "Remember the ABA: San Antonio Spurs".
  5. ^ a b Key Dates in Spurs History
  6. ^ AT&T CENTER
  7. ^ "2013–2014 San Antonio Spurs Media Guide". San Antonio Spurs. ((cite web)): Missing or empty |url= (help)
  8. ^ "Lost Live Dead".
  9. ^ Triumph Tour[unreliable source?]
Preceded byState Fair Coliseum &Moody Coliseum Home of theSan Antonio Spurs 1973 – 1993 Succeeded byAlamodome