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A big city in South-Central Texas is home to a lot of things. 

Many of the now 1.5 million residents of the city would recognize the iconic silhouette of the Alamo, while others would be more familiar with the cultural "heart" of the city that is the Downtown River Walk.

But for almost all of the city's residents, the Silver and Black colors that identify the San Antonio Spurs are what truly make San Antonio home. 

Since 1973, San Antonio has served as a place for Spurs fans to gather and watch their favorite NBA team. The iconic culture that surrounds the city is something that is hard to find elsewhere among other NBA teams, and for good reason.

Spurs fans have seen 14 different head coaches, two different arenas and five championships throughout the team's 50-year history, but above all else, their loyalty to both the city and to the team is what makes them unique. And while many faces have come and go from the roster, the Spurs' brand and identity has remained the same. 

But now, for the first time ever, San Antonio's team is testing another Texas market. 

“Years ago, we started thinking about how we could better integrate into the Austin market,” Brandon James, Spurs Sports & Entertainment's SVP of Strategic Growth said. “The corridor between San Antonio, Austin and Mexico is growing super fast. It’s not a matter of if, but when it becomes a mega-region, and we want to be the tip of the spear [to expand into it].

“As a sports team, we’re uniquely situated to bring together communities that otherwise wouldn’t come together,” he added. “We’re super excited at that opportunity.”

With the influx of residents coming from other states, and even other countries, James' point stands strong. Austin was named the second-fastest growing city in America just a year ago, and that growth has not stopped just yet. 

San Antonio's G-league affiliate also resides in Austin, which gives the franchise a head start on expansion, which, if successful, would allow for increased viewership, but also a wider range of diversity within the fanbase — something that James says the team values heavily.

"Right now in terms of TV-market size, we’re in the bottom four in the NBA,” James said. “If we are able to puncture Austin in the way that we think we can, we move to a top-10 TV market. That changes the paradigm of how we look at ourselves, how other teams look at us [and] how the sports world in general looks at us.”

The Spurs, who have a rich history of success behind Hall-of-Fame coach Gregg Popovich and his famed big-three of Tim Duncan, Manu Ginóbili and Tony Parker, have had no problem bringing in fans from San Antonio, making the next task to bring in fans at a consistent rate from elsewhere.

Doing so is difficult on its own, but to make matters more challenging, the Spurs have not exactly had that same level of success in recent years. 

"There's a lot of different storylines and narratives that we're telling around our team," James added. "Like our 50th anniversary. Hopefully our on-court performance will catch up to those storylines and then we'll have a whole story to tell about not only the success on the court, but all of the stuff that our players and team are doing off the court as well."

Key to that on-court success will be the Spurs' young core — namely rookies Jeremy Sochan, Malaki Branham and Julian Champagnie — who have all had a chance to gain experience during a season without playoff implications. 

Learning from Popovich and some of the more experienced veterans on the Spurs' roster has also helped the young players to develop, and helped prepare them to be the next faces of the franchise in the coming years.

"We've spent this entire [season] celebrating the past 50 years," James said. " Now, what we're trying to do is turn our sights on to the next 50 years, and with that comes a sort of new group of young, hungry, talented players." 

Those talented players also bring with them a young energy that is hard to replicate. 

"Jeremy was tremendous [at his meet-and-greet]," James said. "He does such a good job of connecting with fans and connecting with the community. He does it in a way that's unique and authentic to who he is, and who we are at the Spurs organization.

"He's one of those players where you meet him once and you remember it forever."

Jeremy Sochan

San Antonio Spurs rookie forward Jeremy Sochan signs his autograph on one of his own fan-worn jerseys during a team-sanctioned meet-and-greet in Austin, March 27, 2023. 

James emphasized the Spurs' goal to connect with the city of Austin in a different way than San Antonio, utilizing some of Austin's unique differences to best connect with the community. Part of that effort included a $500,000 donation to help improve parks and basketball courts around Austin in what the Spurs called "Play ATX". 

"We [were] fortunate enough to develop some real relationships," James said. "Not only that, but to show these communities out there that we're committed to Austin.  We want to build long lasting impressions on the city and really invest in the community as well. We wouldn't be the Spurs if we weren't also giving back to the community."

While the Spurs are no stranger to giving back to their community, their presence in Austin is certainly strange, and even worrisome, to their fans who have always known San Antonio to be home.

"Our fans are super loyal," James said. "San Antonio fans have been really good to us. There is trepidation about our market expansion, and there is fear that the team is moving, [but] I want to be crystal clear on behalf of our ownership group: the team is not moving. San Antonio is our home. It'll always be our anchor." 

So, with San Antonio as an anchor and the Silver and Black across their chest, the Spurs are seemingly locked into the big city in South-Central Texas — the place they call home. And as long its fans continue to bring their loyalty and support, San Antonio will be hearing "Go Spurs Go!" chants for many years to come. 

Though it may be joined by some newfound Spurs fans in Austin.

“Our goal is to have Austinites identify the Spurs as their NBA team,” James said. “If you go to San Antonio, anyone you ask will say, ‘Yeah, I'm a Spurs fan.’ We want that same sentiment here in Austin, and we know we have work to do to get that.”

Spurs Sports & Entertainment's Brandon James (left) poses with Spurs rookie forward Jeremy Sochan in front of Josef Kristofoletti’s mural, Tau Ceti, located in Downtown Austin, March 27, 2023.

Spurs Sports & Entertainment's Brandon James (left) poses with Spurs rookie forward Jeremy Sochan in front of Josef Kristofoletti’s mural, Tau Ceti, located in Downtown Austin, March 27, 2023.

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