Convention Center Arena
|Full name||HemisFair Arena|
|Location||601 HemisFair Way|
San Antonio, Texas 78203
|Owner||City of San Antonio|
|Operator||City of San Antonio|
|Opened||April 6, 1968|
|Closed||May 30, 1995|
|General contractor||Lyda/H. A. Lott|
|Houston Rockets (NBA) (1972–1973)|
San Antonio Spurs (ABA/NBA) (1973–1993)
San Antonio Force (AFL) (1992)
HemisFair Arena (also known as 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.
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.
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 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.
The Spurs played their first game at the arena on October 10, 1973, losing to the San Diego Conquistadors 121-106 in front of 5,879. As Spurs games began regularly selling out, the roof of the 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. 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.
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. The last ticketed event to be held at the facility was a Van Halen concert March 25, 1995. The last event at HemisFair Arena was a graduation for a local high school, Thomas Jefferson High School, on May 30, 1995. The site is now the location of an expansion to the adjacent Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center.
The seating capacity for basketball was: