Last month, the San Antonio Spurs unveiled their “Statement” jerseys for 2022, and they received mixed reactions from fans. This contrasts with the “Fiesta” jerseys of the last two seasons, which were met with a lot of fan support. Of course, the fan base had been asking for the Fiesta jerseys for years, and many would like to see the Fiesta colors incorporated into the uniform selection every year. The Spurs and Nike went a different route this season, causing some blowback.
The Statement jersey is supposed to be the jersey that represents the city. Something for fans to take pride in and be proud to wear on a night out at a local icehouse. The “statement” made by these jerseys alienates the Spurs fan base.
The Spurs Statement Jersey: Opposite of “Puro”
To start, there is nothing inherently “San Antonio” about these jerseys. They weren’t designed with current Spurs fans in mind. If the team has to use the serape pattern, fans would like for them to be in Fiesta colors. As for the logo itself, “SATX” is used by travelers coming through town. “You had me…,” wrote one fan in the comments of the jersey announcement, “then you have SATX. Wtf is that. It is not a station code, and abbreviation nothing. Made up crap. You lost me.”
Sure, it is also a location marker on Instagram or Twitter, but it’s not a part of the San Antonio lexicon. People from the city generally use the area code “210” or say “San Anto” to represent pride in their home. “SATX” is not generally used by locals. It is merely a recognizable city identifier to tourists and visitors. “Why is it ‘the region’ that y’all are honoring,” tweeted another fan. “Just say San Antonio, somewhere in the release, you know, the city y’all play in.”
In addition to the controversial logo, there’s no longer a San Antonio-based company represented on the jersey. The Austin-based financial service company Self has replaced the local institution Frost Bank on the left sleeve.
The Spurs Statement Jersey Is A Financial Statement
The motivation behind the logo on the jersey and new sponsor could be part of a bigger picture for the future of the Spurs. It is no secret that the organization is currently looking to expand its fan base footprint. They are trying to compensate for dwindling home-game ticket sales, not helped by a struggling team. After a pitch from Spurs owner Peter J Holt, the Bexar County commissioners voted 4-1 in favor of letting the team play four home games outside of the Alamo City. Mexico City and Austin were floated as potential locations for the “home” games, with the former confirmed to receive a game this season.
Tommy Calvert Jr., the sole dissenting vote, urged the Spurs organization to find ways to grow their business inside of San Antonio. Those who voted “yes” are usually rubber stamps for whatever corporate interests want, and this decision was no exception.
In the press release announcing the 2022 Statement jerseys, Spurs Sports & Entertainment VP of Brand Engagement Becky Kimbro said, “Our new Statement Edition uniform embodies the evolution of our team’s roots while celebrating fans across the entire region. Through the intricate serape pattern, we’re blending our 50-year legacy with our vibrant culture that we celebrate on and off the court.”
The Statement Is Bleak
Visit any Spurs-based online community over the course of this offseason and you’ll find a segment of fans pessimistic about the Spurs’ future as a San Antonio-based team. These “Statement” jerseys seem to be fanning those flames. They seem designed for fans outside of the home base. In Austin the use of ATX is widespread, so SATX seems like a natural fit for them. Some fans even joked the “SA” of SATX stands for South Austin.
The South Austin Spurs.— Fidel Martinez (@fidmart85) July 25, 2022
What an unnecessary self-own https://t.co/Lq4IzgiIkn
The serape print may be a nod to fans in Mexico where the Spurs hope to play “home” games this season. While the idea of NBA games in Mexico City is exciting, the city of San Antonio stands to lose a lot by having those games away from the city. San Antonio is a blue-collar city. Spurs games still mean a large influx of people traveling to the city’s eastside to support an area of town where there are still more local businesses than chains. Four fewer high-traffic days will mean a lot for the local economy.
Spurs fans loved the Fiesta Jerseys from the last two seasons. Love it or hate it, Fiesta is undoubtedly a San Antonio event that locals partake in every year. To see these “Statement” jerseys clearly made with other cities in mind is somewhat hurtful to the Spurs faithful. The reaction online seems to be clear: This jersey doesn’t represent us.
Hey, at least fans like the shorts.