HemisFair Arena

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HemisFair Arena
Convention Center Arena
Full name HemisFair Arena
Location 601 Hemisfair Way
San Antonio, Texas 78203
Coordinates 29°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
Broke ground 1966
Opened April 6, 1968[1]
Renovated 1978
Expanded 1978
Closed May 30, 1995
Demolished June 1995[1]
Owner City of San Antonio
Operator City of San Antonio
Surface Multi-surface
Architect O'Neil Ford
General contractor Lyda/H. A. Lott
Capacity Basketball: 16,057[2]
Tenants
San Antonio Spurs (ABA/NBA) (1973-1993)
Houston Rockets (NBA) (1972-1973)
San Antonio Force (AFL) (1992)

HemisFair Arena was an indoor arena, located in San Antonio, Texas, United States. It was also known as the Convention Center Arena.

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[edit]

Construction[edit]

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[edit]

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 1972-73 season. The February '74 arrival of Hall of Famer George Gervin helped transform the franchise. The Spurs were such a success as an ABA franchise that they became an National Basketball Association franchise following the ABA-NBA merger in 1976.[3]

The Spurs played their first game at the arena on October 10, 1973 losing to the San Diego Conquistadors 121-106[4] in front of 5,879.[1] As Spurs games began regularly selling out, the roof of arena was literally raised and lifted during the summer of 1978, adding an upper deck at the facility and allowing for a capacity of over 16,000.[2] 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. Throughout its lifespan, it was considered one of the loudest arenas in the NBA.[5]

Final events[edit]

HemisFair Arena was torn down in 1995, two years after the Spurs moved to the Alamodome in 1993. The last Spurs game to ever take place at HemisFair took place on May 20, 1993 when the Spurs lost to the Phoenix Suns in Game 6 the Western Conference Semi-Finals in the 1993 NBA Playoffs on a last-second jump shot by league MVP Charles Barkley.[4] The last ticketed event to be held at the facility was a 1995 Van Halen concert.[1] The last event to ever be held at the HemisFair Arena was a graduation for a local high school, Thomas Jefferson High School, on May 30, 1995.[1]

The site is now the location of an expansion to the adjacent Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center.

Seating Capacity[edit]

The seating capacity for basketball went as followed:[6]

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

Notable concerts[edit]

  • Selena held her third and final Fashion Show at Hemisfair Arena in December 1994 followed by a concert.
  • The Jacksons performed at HemisFair Arena on July 15, 1981 during their Triumph Tour.[7][unreliable source?]

References[edit]

Preceded by
State Fair Coliseum &
Moody Coliseum
Home of the
San Antonio Spurs

1973 – 1993
Succeeded by
Alamodome