AT&T sold off its minority interest — about 7% — in the NBA’s San Antonio Spurs, Front Office Sports has learned.
As a result, the Spurs are also on the hunt for a new naming rights sponsor for their home arena. It’s expected the venue will remain known as AT&T Center until the contract expires in fall 2022.
With the Spurs valued at $1.85 billion, it’s estimated that AT&T made about $125 million from its original investment in the Spurs more than two decades ago. The chunk of the team held by AT&T was part of the 30% stake in the franchise that investment firm Sixth Street and tech billionaire Michael Dell purchased last month.
“This sale is a result of the ongoing strategic review of our balance sheet and assets to identify opportunities for monetization,” Fletcher Cook, VP of corporate communications for AT&T, said in an email to FOS.
It’s been a big year for sports arena naming rights:
- In March, the Miami Heat landed a 19-year deal with crypto company FTX that pays about $7 million per year.
- Highmark Health became the stadium sponsor for the Buffalo Bills in a deal worth $6 million annually.
- Caesars agreed to a 20-year, $200 million deal for the Superdome, home of the New Orleans Saints.
At around $2 million per year, AT&T’s naming rights agreement with the Spurs was one of the cheapest in pro sports — even for a franchise in one of the smaller U.S. markets.