San Antonio Spurs to host Austin pickleball event
Expanding their Austin footprint, the San Antonio Spurs are hosting a pickleball event in Austin next week to help pay for local parks improvements.
Why it matters: The Spurs say they're dedicated to San Antonio, but in the last few years they've made a move to extend their brand in the wide-open, and potentially lucrative, Austin market.
- They now play some NBA games at the Moody Center and have sent players to disperse merch and even bag groceries at the East Riverside H-E-B.
- In September, Spurs rookie and former Texas Longhorn Sir'Jabari Rice unveiled a basketball court renovation at Garrison Park in South Austin.
Plus: The Spurs also operate a G-League team in Cedar Park.
Between the lines: "Aside from Austin FC, there's no direct competition for the attention of professional sports fans," Kirk Wakefield, executive director of the Center for Sports Strategy and Sales at Baylor University, tells Axios. "Virtually everywhere else you have multiple sports franchises with which to compete."
Flashback: The Spurs' "home" games in Austin in the spring drew sellout crowds, breaking an overall Moody Center record.
Details: The Spurs' Play ATX initiative underwrites court and park renovations across Austin, in partnership with Austin Parks Foundation.
- In April, the Spurs, partnering with the Austin Parks Foundation, donated nearly $500,000 to launch Play ATX. So far, besides the Garrison Park effort, the initiative led to a renovated basketball court at Dove Springs District Park in Southeast Austin.
What they're saying: "Play ATX honors and celebrates Spurs fans in Austin by creating safe accessible spaces to play and heal," Kara Allen, chief impact officer for Spurs Sports & Entertainment, said last month.
Details: Tickets for the Oct. 24 event are $10 each.
- The event, hosted at Millbrook Pickleball Club in South Austin, will feature two courts of open play and music from DJ DMoney.
Of note: No, to your very important question, Wemby is not scheduled to make an appearance at the Austin event.
What we're watching: The Spurs kick off their season at home Oct. 25 against the Dallas Mavericks.
- The Spurs will be back at the Moody Center in the spring, playing defending champs the Denver Nuggets on March 15 and the Brooklyn Nets on March 17.
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