The Alamodome is a 64,000-seat multi-purpose stadium in San Antonio, Texas. It is located on the southeastern fringe of downtown San Antonio. The facility opened on May 15, 1993, having been constructed at a cost of $186 million.
Exterior view, May 2018
Location in Texas
Location in the United States
|Address||100 Montana Street|
|Location||San Antonio, Texas|
|Owner||City of San Antonio|
|Operator||San Antonio Convention and Sports Facilities Department|
|Capacity||American football: 64,000|
Left Field – 340 feet (104 m)
Left-Center – 370 feet (113 m)
Center Field – 395 feet (120 m)
Right-Center – 305 feet (93 m)
Right Field – 280 feet (85 m)
|Surface||AstroTurf Magic Carpet II|
|Broke ground||November 5, 1990|
|Opened||May 15, 1993|
|Renovated||2008, 2009, 2017|
|Construction cost||US$186 million|
($323 million in 2018 dollars)
W. E. Simpson Company, Inc.
|Structural engineer||W.E. Simpson Company (Engineer of Record) and Martin & Martin (Preliminary Roof Structural Design)|
|Services engineer||M–E Engineers, Inc.|
|General contractor||Huber, Hunt & Nichols|
The multi-purpose facility was intended to increase the city's convention traffic and attract a professional football franchise. It also placated the San Antonio Spurs' demands for a larger arena. The Spurs played in the Alamodome for a decade, then became disenchanted with the facility and convinced Bexar County to construct a new arena for them, now called the AT&T Center. The Alamodome's regular tenants are currently the UTSA Roadrunners. Recent tenants include the San Antonio Commanders of the Alliance of American Football and the San Antonio Talons of the Arena Football League.
The facility is a rectilinear 5-level stadium which can seat up to 64,000 spectators for a typical football game and is expandable to hold 72,000 spectators.
The stadium was designed to easily convert into a basketball or hockey arena. Converting the stadium for basketball and hockey takes 12–18 hours to set up retractable seating and installing the playing surface. In this configuration, typically only the two lower levels at one or both ends are used. The arena configuration seats 20,662 spectators, but is expandable to 39,500 when the upper level is opened. The stadium can also be adapted into a smaller auditorium space (branded as the "Illusions Theater"), with an intimate, enclosed setting, seating upwards of 11,000 using floor space and the north grandstand.
The Alamodome opened with 38 luxury suites and 6,000 club level seats. The original design specifications called for 66 luxury suites. However, since the Spurs were the only full-time tenant at the time, only 38 luxury suites in the north end of the facility were built. The footprints for the 28 unbuilt luxury suites were open floor space just behind the club level seats that surround the south end of the facility. In 2006, the Alamodome underwent an expansion to accommodate 14 new luxury suites. The Sports Club and the Top of the Dome restaurant also received renovations in 2004.
The Alamodome has two permanent Olympic-size ice rinks that can be used for NHL games, figure skating and speed skating. The facility also contains 30,000 square feet (2,800 m2) of meeting rooms and 160,000 square feet (15,000 m2) of continuous exhibit space.
Events and tenants
The Alamodome is currently the home of the University of Texas at San Antonio (UTSA) Roadrunners. Previously, it was home to the San Antonio Spurs of the NBA from 1993 to 2002, the San Antonio Texans of the CFL in 1995, and the San Antonio Commanders of the Alliance of American Football (AAF) in 2019.
UIL State Football Playoff games are regularly held in the Alamodome, including State Quarterfinals/Region 4 Finals and championship games in 2006, 2007 and 2009
The Alamodome's ability to easily accommodate basketball made it attractive to then-Spurs owner Red McCombs, who had been looking for some time for a larger arena to replace their longtime home, HemisFair Arena. The Spurs moved to the Alamodome after the 1992–93 NBA season. They played nine seasons in the Alamodome from 1993 to 2002, including their first NBA championship season, which was played against the New York Knicks in 1999.
During the regular season, most of the upper level was curtained off. However, on certain weekends and when popular opponents came to town, the Spurs expanded the Alamodome's capacity to 35,000 by opening three portions of the upper level. More sections of the upper level were opened for the playoffs, expanding capacity to 39,500. Attendance was 39,514 for Game 1 of the 1999 NBA Finals and 39,554 for Game 2.
Though the late 1990s saw the Spurs soar in popularity, the decision was made to move the team out of the spacious stadium and build a new arena. While the Alamodome had been designed to accommodate basketball, it was primarily a football stadium. As the years passed, Spurs management and fans grew increasingly dissatisfied with its poor sight lines and cavernous feel. Part of the problem was the manner in which the Alamodome was configured for basketball. The basketball court was at one end of the venue with temporary stands on one side of the court, leaving over half of the stadium curtained off (the same problem and configuration existed for the Detroit Pistons in the mid-1980s during their tenancy at the Pontiac Silverdome). Television broadcast trucks were usually set up on the unused half of the playing surface. By comparison, more modern domed stadiums that can accommodate basketball, such as AT&T Stadium in Arlington, place the basketball court in the center of where the football field would be, allowing for much larger attendances. Additionally, the Spurs tied up the Alamodome for most of the winter and spring due to their deep playoff runs (they only missed the playoffs once in their nine years there). With the Alamodome booked solid well into April, it was difficult to accommodate conventions, concerts or even a prospective football team. Moving the Spurs out of the Alamodome opened up more contiguous dates allowing the facility to schedule more events, though it has yet to host a Super Bowl. The Spurs moved to the new SBC Center after the 2001–02 season.
The 1996 NBA All-Star Game was played in the Alamodome.
College and high school football
The Alamodome is the site of the annual Alamo Bowl, which matches the second-choice teams from the Pac-12 Conference and the Big 12 Conference. The 2006 Alamo Bowl between the Texas Longhorns and the Iowa Hawkeyes was attended by 65,875, which set a facility-record crowd for a sporting event, only to have that record broken by an Alamo Bowl event the next year between Texas A&M and Penn State, which drew 66,166 attendees.
September 16, 2006, marked the first game in a college football "home and home" series, known as the AT&T Corps Classic, between the Texas A&M Aggies and the Army Black Knights. Army has elected to play its "home" game at the Alamodome in order to increase the program's exposure around the nation, as it competes as an independent. A sell-out crowd of 64,583 watched the Aggies defeat the Black Knights 28–24. The second game was played at Kyle Field in College Station in 2008.
East–West Shrine Game
The 2006 East–West Shrine Game was played in the Alamodome on January 21, 2006. The game is an annual post-season college football all-star game. For most of its history, the game has been played in the San Francisco Bay Area, at San Francisco's Kezar Stadium and at Stanford Stadium. In recent years it has been played at AT&T Park. In 2006, the game was played in the Alamodome, moving out of the San Francisco Bay Area for the first time in decades. The Shrine Game was moved once again for its 2007 event, to Robertson Stadium in Houston.
Texas Football Classic
From 1999 to 2011, the Alamodome has been home to the Texas Football Classic, which kicks off the high school football season in Texas. Now in its 13th year, the event has expanded to five games, featuring prominent high school programs from across the state. Former participants include former Chicago Bears and University of Texas running back Cedric Benson, University of Iowa quarterback Drew Tate, University of Houston quarterback Kevin Kolb, and University of Missouri quarterback Chase Daniel.
Since 2002, the Alamodome has hosted the All-American Bowl—a national all-star game for U.S. high school football. Played in early-January, the game features teams representing the eastern and western United States. The 2017 edition hosted a record 40,568 spectators.
Texas vs. the Nation
In 2011, the Texas vs. The Nation game was moved to San Antonio and was renamed the NFLPA Game, after the new sponsor of the event. The concept of The NFLPA Game remained "Texas vs. the Nation" with seniors having ties to the state of Texas taking on top seniors from across the Nation. The game was moved from the Alamodome after the 2011 game and ended all together in 2013.
The UTSA Roadrunners football program began using the stadium in 2011. The Roadrunners set records for largest attendance at an initial game for a start-up NCAA college football program at 56,743, and largest average attendance for a start-up program's first season at 35,521. With a total capacity of 72,000 for football the Alamodome is currently the largest football stadium in Conference USA.
Big 12 Conference championship
The Alamodome hosted the Big 12 Football Championship Game in 1997, 1999 and 2007.
The Alamodome has played host to six National Football League preseason games. Two each were played in 1993 and 1994, one in 1995, and one in 2001.
- August 7, 1993 – Houston Oilers (28) vs. New Orleans Saints (37) – Attendance: 40,308
- August 21, 1993 – Dallas Cowboys (20) vs. Houston Oilers (23) – Attendance: 63,285
- August 6, 1994 – Houston Oilers (31) vs. San Diego Chargers (3) – Attendance: 29,815
- August 20, 1994 – Buffalo Bills (18) vs. Houston Oilers (16) – Attendance: 40,504
- August 26, 1995 – Dallas Cowboys (10) vs. Houston Oilers (0) – Attendance: 52,512
- August 11, 2001 – Minnesota Vikings (28) vs. New Orleans Saints (21) – Attendance: 46,752
In 2005, the NFL announced that the Alamodome would host three of the New Orleans Saints' regular season "home" games due to the damage caused to the Louisiana Superdome by Hurricane Katrina. The Saints played the Buffalo Bills (week 4), the Atlanta Falcons (week 6), and the Detroit Lions (week 16) at the Alamodome. Although there have been many NFL preseason games held in San Antonio over the years, these games were the first NFL regular season games played in the city. The Saints also played one 2005 season "home" game in Giants Stadium (against the New York Giants) in East Rutherford, New Jersey, and four others in LSU's Tiger Stadium in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Overall, the Saints averaged 62,665 fans in the 64,000-seat Alamodome for the three games held there, a solid showing despite the short notice to sell tickets due to the hurricane. The Saints and the NFL announced that the team would return to Louisiana for the 2006 season even though at the time the NFL was uncertain where they would play their home games.
- October 2, 2005 – Buffalo Bills (7) vs. New Orleans Saints (19) – Attendance: 58,688
- October 16, 2005 – Atlanta Falcons (34) vs. New Orleans Saints (31) – Attendance: 65,562 (attendance set the facility record for a sporting event at the time; it has been subsequently surpassed by two Alamo Bowl events, but is still the record crowd for a professional football event at the Alamodome)
- December 24, 2005 – Detroit Lions (13) vs. New Orleans Saints (12) – Attendance: 63,747
Additionally, former NFL Commissioner Paul Tagliabue indicated that if the NFL expands again, San Antonio would be on the short list of candidate cities. Cowboys owner Jerry Jones has acknowledged his support for the city's efforts to become home to an NFL franchise even though public opinion is that he would never let go of his team's presence in the San Antonio market.
The Dallas Cowboys held their 2002, 2003, 2007, 2009, 2010, and 2011 preseason training camps at the Alamodome.
On July 29, 2014, it was reported by the San Antonio Express-News that Mark Davis met with officials from the city of San Antonio, Texas, to discuss the possibility of relocating the Raiders to San Antonio. Davis confirmed that he did speak with San Antonio city officials while visiting San Antonio to honor former Raiders wide receiver Cliff Branch's induction into a local Hall of Fame, but did not comment on whether he was considering relocation to San Antonio. If the Raiders had relocated to San Antonio, the Alamodome would almost certainly have been used as a temporary home until a new NFL stadium was built. The Raiders decided against moving to San Antonio, first proposing unsuccessfully to return to its previous home in Los Angeles, then ultimately receiving permission to relocate to Las Vegas by 2020. In September 2017, San Antonio was identified as a potential temporary home for the Raiders in the event they are evicted from their current stadium, the Oakland Coliseum, before their new Las Vegas stadium is completed.
Canadian football and arena football
The Alamodome was also home to the San Antonio Texans for the 1995 CFL season. The stadium was attractive to the Canadian Football League (which made an ill-fated attempt to expand to the U.S. between 1993 and 1995) since it was one of the rare American facilities that could fully accommodate the CFL's larger playing field and, having just recently opened, was one of the most modern facilities in a league where the majority of its teams were playing in decades-old or poorly fit stadiums. Its seating could be retracted to fit the full 65-yard width and 150-yard length of a regulation Canadian football field.
In the first CFL playoff game ever played between two U.S.-based franchises, the Texans defeated the Birmingham Barracudas 52–9 at the Alamodome on November 5. The team then lost to the eventual champion Baltimore Stallions 21–11 in Baltimore on November 11. The Texans folded after the 1995 season; the team had respectable attendance and manageable financial losses, but widespread dysfunction among most of the rest of new U.S. franchises led to the team's demise. As a result, the November 11 game is the last meaningful CFL game to have been played in the United States.
Alliance of American Football
In 2019, the Alamodome became the home of the San Antonio Commanders of the Alliance of American Football. The San Antonio Commanders and San Diego Fleet played the AAF's inaugural game on February 9, 2019.
The NCAA Final Four was first hosted at the Alamodome in 1998, Kentucky won the tournament. Then in 2004, it hosted when Connecticut defeated Georgia Tech in the championship game. It again hosted in 2008, with Kansas defeating Memphis. The Final Four returned in 2018; this time, the event used the current "center court" configuration mandated by the NCAA, where the game is played on an elevated court and all seating is utilized, allowing a crowd of over 70,000.
Since 2013, the Texas Rangers have played several exhibition games at the Alamodome to close out their spring training camp, the first time baseball has been played at the Alamodome. They played the San Diego Padres in 2013, the Houston Astros in 2014, the Los Angeles Dodgers in 2015, the Kansas City Royals in 2016, and the Cleveland Indians in 2017.
Due to San Antonio's proximity to Mexico, the Alamodome has hosted Mexican soccer teams in various events since the mid-2000s in addition to American teams.
The Mexican national soccer team first played in the Alamodome on June 19, 2004, in a FIFA World Cup qualifier, defeating Dominica 10–0 in front of 37,642 fans. Mexico returned on November 10 for an exhibition match against Guatemala, winning 2–0 in front of 22,000 fans. Mexico played an exhibition match against South Korea on January 29, 2014, attended by 54,313 people. An exhibition match between Mexico and the United States on April 15, 2015, sold out the stadium, attracting a crowd of 64,369. The US won the game 2-0, thanks to goals from Jordan Morris and Juan Agudelo. The match was marred by Mexico's displeasure with the temporary grass field laid on the Alamodome floor, which was described as "uneven" and "full of patches".
The United States women's national soccer team played an exhibition match against Trinidad and Tobago at the Alamodome on December 11, 2015, as part of their "Victory Tour" following the 2015 FIFA Women's World Cup. The match was attended by 10,690 people.
The Alamodome was announced as a host venue for a doubleheader at the 2017 CONCACAF Gold Cup, and played host to a double-header on July 16, 2017, between Mexico and Curaçao and El Salvador and Jamaica.
Two matches in the 2005 InterLiga series were played on the Alamodome on January 6, 2005, featuring Mexican club teams Club América, Chiapas F.C., Deportivo Toluca F.C., and Club Necaxa. Club América returned for an exhibition match against Santos Laguna on July 9, 2016.
The Alamodome was to be the home venue of a planned Major League Soccer (MLS) franchise in 2005, but the league was unable to come to an agreement with the city. A new expansion bid plans to use Toyota Field, a soccer-specific stadium used by San Antonio FC, for the MLS team instead of the Alamodome.
The 1993 U.S. Olympic Festival held some of the first paid events in the Alamodome in July and August 1993, including the opening and closing ceremonies and ice skating events.
The now-defunct San Antonio Dragons of the International Hockey League played some games in 1997 and 1998 at the Alamodome when its home, Freeman Coliseum, was unavailable during the annual San Antonio Stock Show & Rodeo (a similar scheduling conflict the Spurs now face at the new AT&T Center). The Professional Bull Riders (PBR) has held two Built Ford Tough Series events in the Alamodome (2007, 2008).
Two NHL pre-season games were held at the Alamodome. The Dallas Stars faced off against the Los Angeles Kings in back-to-back seasons at the Alamodome in 1994 and 1995. The Stars defeated the Kings 3-2 on September 27, 1994, with 14,342 fans in attendance (this was one of the last hockey games to take place before the 1994–95 NHL lockout). The following year Dallas claimed a 4-2 victory over the Kings in front of 8,122 hockey fans on September 26, 1995. Hockey Hall of Fame forward Wayne Gretzky participated in both preseason matchups.
Every summer, Drum Corps International hosts its DCI San Antonio – Southwestern Championships at the Alamodome.
From July 5 to July 16, 2006, the Alamodome hosted the ELCA Youth Gathering. Approximately 40,000 youth and adult leaders attended the event, between the two weeks it was spread.
On September 10, 1993, Julio César Chávez Sr. challenged Pernell Whitaker for the WBC welterweight boxing championship title. The match, infamously, ended in a draw. In April 2013, Austin Trout fought the undefeated Canelo Alvarez at the Alamodome.
The Alamodome has twice hosted WWE's Royal Rumble pay-per-view event. The first occurrence took place on January 19, 1997, and saw San Antonio native Shawn Michaels defeat Psycho Sid for the WWF World Heavyweight Championship in the main event. The event also saw Texas native Stone Cold Steve Austin win the first of his record setting three Royal Rumble matches. The second Royal Rumble to be held at the Alamodome took place on January 29, 2017. Randy Orton last eliminated Roman Reigns to win the Royal Rumble match in the nights main event.
On April 15, 2005, the San Antonio City Council voted to spend close to $6.5 million to renovate the Alamodome in an effort to lure a Major League Soccer franchise to the city. After the election of Phil Hardberger as the new mayor, those efforts were abandoned, though the approved renovations to the facility will continue as planned. The city administration and local business leaders have re-focused their efforts to bringing an NFL franchise to San Antonio.
On April 19, 2007, the San Antonio City Council unanimously approved an additional $8.3 million to fund renovations and enhancements to the facility.
In the summer of 2008 the audio system was upgraded.
In 2009 new LED video panels were added to the 5th level.
Although when the Alamodome was built it was an ideal state-of-the-art NFL stadium, by today's standards the facility would have to undergo renovations and add a considerable number of luxury suites in order to make it a profitable venue for an NFL team. Preliminary estimates put the cost of improvements at $100–150 million.
In 2011, the Alamodome introduced a new configuration branded as the Illusions Theater, wherein the north end of the stadium can be partitioned into a smaller, pop-up auditorium setting with a ceiling, carpeting, and stage. The configuration includes up to 1,000 seats of floor space, and can seat up to 11,600 when using the existing grandstand. The configuration was designed to host mid-sized events (which, prior to its closure and renovation, were primarily held at the San Antonio Municipal Auditorium), including concerts, conventions, and graduation ceremonies. The project had a budget of $1 million.
In 2016, the San Antonio City Council approved $50 million worth of upgrades to modernize the facilities to keep it competitive for NCAA events. The improvements include a new media center, upgrades to the locker rooms, expanded concourses and added concessions, 4 new video screens and ribbon boards wrapping the 5th level, a new sound system, and other technology upgrades, and upgraded lighting.
|1||68,257||2018 NCAA Final Four||Loyola-Chicago vs. Michigan|
Kansas vs. Villanova
|Mar. 31, 2018|
|2||67,831||2018 NCAA Division I Men's Basketball Championship Game||Michigan vs. Villanova||Apr. 2, 2018|
|3||66,166||2007 Alamo Bowl||Penn State vs. Texas A&M||Dec. 29, 2007|
|4||65,875||2006 Alamo Bowl||Texas vs. Iowa||Dec. 30, 2006|
|5||65,562||2005 NFL regular season game||Atlanta Falcons vs. New Orleans Saints||Oct. 16, 2005|
|6||65,380||1999 Alamo Bowl||Penn State vs. Texas A&M||Dec. 28, 1999|
|7||65,265||2004 Alamo Bowl||Oklahoma State vs. Ohio State||Dec. 29, 2004|
|8||65,232||2001 Alamo Bowl||Iowa vs. Texas Tech||Dec. 29, 2001|
|9||65,035||1999 Big 12 Championship Game||Texas vs. Nebraska||Dec. 4, 1999|
|10||64,369||International friendly (men's soccer)||United States vs. Mexico||Apr. 15, 2015|
Other notable attendance marks include:
- 70,956: George Strait, The Cowboy Rides Away Tour (2013)
- 60,447: WWF Royal Rumble 1997
- 58,891: 1993 Julio César Chávez–Pernell Whitaker boxing match
- 56,743: 2011 Northeastern State vs. UTSA regular season football game (record for the highest-attended game for an NCAA Division I FCS start-up program)
- 54,313: 2014 soccer friendly Mexico vs. South Korea
- 53,407: 2009 Notre Dame vs. Washington State regular season football game.
- 52,020: WWE Royal Rumble 2017
- 48,709: Paul McCartney, The New World Tour (1993)
- 45,343: Metallica, WorldWired Tour (2017)
- 44,468: 2004 NCAA Men's Division I Basketball Championship Game, Georgia Tech vs. Connecticut (a facility record for basketball)
- 44,000: Black Sabbath Reunion Tour '99
- 43,257: 2008 NCAA Men's Division I Basketball Championship Game,, Kansas Jayhawks vs. Memphis Tigers
- 40,509: 1998 NCAA Men's Division I Basketball Championship Game,, Utah vs. Kentucky
- 39,554: 1999 NBA Finals (Game 2), New York Knicks vs. San Antonio Spurs
- 36,451: CONCACAF 2006 FIFA World Cup qualifier (round 2), Dominica vs. Mexico
- 36,037: 1996 NBA All-Star Game
- 29,619: 2002 NCAA Women's Division I Basketball Championship Game, Oklahoma vs. Connecticut (the largest turnout to an NCAA women's basketball game)
- 22,043: CFL, Calgary Stampeders vs. San Antonio Texans (1995)
- 19,211: Hockey: 1997 Phoenix Roadrunners vs. San Antonio Dragons
- 14,140: 2016 DCI Southwestern Championship (total paid attendees)
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