AT&T will not renew its deal with the San Antonio Spurs to be the naming sponsor of the team’s arena, a source close to the Spurs confirmed Saturday.
The Dallas-based telecom company will not be the name helming the San Antonio basketball arena after its current contract expires in 2022, Front Office Sports first reported Friday.
Bexar County Judge Nelson Wolff said he was not surprised to hear the news that AT&T would not continue its sponsorship of the Spurs arena.
“I was expecting it because they pretty well abandoned San Antonio when they moved their corporate headquarters that we never really fully recovered from,” he said. “We lost a major national corporation and we have very few of them. That was really a blow to us.
“Since that’s a county arena, I’ll be happy to see another name on it.”
AT&T, previously known as the Southwestern Bell Corporation, was headquartered in San Antonio from 1992 until 2008, when the company moved to Dallas. Local leaders at the time, including Wolff, said they were shocked by the decision.
Front Office Sports also reported that AT&T sold its minority stake of about 7%.
“This sale is a result of the ongoing strategic review of our balance sheet and assets to identify opportunities for monetization,” Fletcher Cook, vice president of corporate communications for AT&T, said in an email to Front Office Sports. “We want to ensure that our assets support our overall strategy and areas of market focus. Where this is not the case, we transition them to owners who will provide incremental stewardship and investment.”
Multiple minority investors recently sold their shares to Austin billionaire Michael Dell of Dell Technologies and San Francisco-based investment firm Sixth Street. According to a CNBC reporter, those shareholders now hold 10% and 20%, respectively.
When Dell and Sixth Street purchased their shares, Spurs Sports & Entertainment Chairman Peter J. Holt was also promoted to managing partner, giving him control over the team. A Spurs spokesperson at the time said the changes were part of an effort to “modernize the organizational structure in alignment with current NBA best practices.”
Wolff said he believes that Holt will “keep up” with his commitment to San Antonio.
The AT&T Center is located in East San Antonio on East Houston Street. The stadium opened in 2002 under its current name and is owned by Bexar County. Voters approved the construction of the arena in 1999. The Spurs lease the space from Bexar County.
AT&T and the Spurs could not be reached for comment Saturday.