AT&T Center – San Antonio Rampage
Photos by Eric Moreno, Stadium Journey
Stadium Info FANFARE Score: 3.14
AT&T Center 1 AT&T Center Pkwy San Antonio, TX 78219
Year Opened: 2002
Rampage Rock at AT&T Center
The 2019-20 season marks the 25th anniversary of the debut of professional ice hockey in the city of San Antonio. Though the San Antonio Iguanas, the city’s original franchise, are long gone, their spiritual successor is thriving in their place. Owned and operated by Spurs Sports & Entertainment, the San Antonio Rampage moved into their shared home at A&T Center the season it opened (2002).
In that time the Rampage has been the farm team of multiple NHL franchises, and are currently affiliated with the defending Stanley Cup champion St. Louis Blues. While the Rampage have yet to compete for a Calder Cup in the AHL, they have taken home a Division title in 2014-15. And while it may not appear on paper as a hockey town because of all of the transplants, San Antonio has built a rep as one of the best places to catch a game in the AHL.
Food & Beverage 4
In 2015 AT&T Center underwent a face lift, of sorts. One of the areas in which upgrades were done was the concessions scene in the arena. One of the highlights of this renovation was the addition of the Rock & Brews pub on the main concourse. Created by KISS legends Gene Simmons and Paul Stanley, this has proved to be one of the most popular spots in the arena. With a bevy of beer options and unique sandwich and burger choices ensconced in a myriad of TVs playing 80s music videos, Rock & Brews is hopping before and during Rampage games.
While many of the standalone kiosks are closed during Rampage games, there are still tons of options throughout the arena. There is a full-service Whataburger and Taco Bell on the main level, as well as Pizza Hut locations that offer their signature personal-pan pizzas. There are also numerous stands offering traditional stadium fare and Texas-centric fare (e.g. street tacos, brisket sandwiches, and Frito pie).
Throughout the season the Rampage have $1 beer and soft drink nights on Fridays. They also have special food and drink discount nights throughout the year; make sure you check their promotional calendar for these special nights.
AT&T Center might have equally as good a setup to watch hockey as it does for basketball – the sight lines are perfectly suited for the action on a hockey rink. Also, during Rampage games much of the upper bowl is blocked off, adding even more intimacy, crowd noise, and energy to the festivities.
A lot of work was put into the overall arena itself to make it fan-friendly. Before games, upwards of two to three hours before, in fact, the Bud Light Courtyard on the patio of Rock & Brews is hopping with live music, games, and often live radio broadcasts. Make sure to hit the game early and check this area out.
Throughout AT&T Center, in addition to tons of reminders of the success of the buildings main tenants, there is a ton of unique art sprinkled on the walls of each concourse level. Also, make sure to hit up the main apparel store; they offer a lot of unique Rampage paraphernalia to get you geared up for games at A&T Center.
San Antonio is one of the premier tourist destinations in the country; it has temperate weather for much of the year (it honestly does get unbearably hot from June through much of September though) and there are lots of family friendly entertainment options.
That being said, you won’t find much to do in the area immediately surrounding AT&T Center. The venue is in a more industrial section of the city, however, thanks to the miracle of the interstate highway system, you can be anywhere in the city within 10-15 minutes after Rampage games. The two main arteries that run parallel to AT&T Center, I-10 and 1-35, will both take visitors to San Antonio’s famed downtown area. Here you will find many of the great tourist attractions the city has become famous for.
A couple of attractions that aren’t at the immediate top of every visitor’s to-do list that should be are Historic Market Square and the Briscoe Western Art Museum. Market Square offers visitors a chance to do some shopping in a historic area of the city – there’s probably no better place to pick up that unique San Antonio souvenir than this place; hundreds of artisans and vendors fill the area and offer bespoke items at reasonable prices.
Market Square is also home to one of the best Tex-Mex spots in town, La Margarita, and the aforementioned Briscoe is exactly what its name implies: a premiere Western art museum with a collection of items in the hundreds. Make sure to visit and walk off some of that great Mexican food you just downed at La Margarita.
It has taken awhile, which is understandable given the lack of a foundation in the sport, but San Antonio has become a pretty good hockey town. The team has averaged just about 7,000 fans per game since their existence began, which is pretty good for minor league sports in a city as large as San Antonio.
Because so many people move to the Alamo City from outside of the state, there is an automatically built in audience for hockey which has helped the native fans learn and grow accustomed to Canada’s national sport. You will see a ton of Rampage sweaters in the stands. and those who cheer on the Rampage cheer on vociferously.
Two major highways parallel AT&T Center, and they can get you from any point in the city. If you’re coming from San Antonio International Airport it’s about a 20-minute drive, based on traffic, while from downtown you can expect about 15 minutes.
Once on site, parking is plentiful for Rampage games. It will cost you $8 to park in the lots on site, but there are often parking options at the neighboring houses and businesses during the season, and there is also a public transportation option (VIA Metropolitan Transit) if you choose not to drive.
Return on Investment 3
Individual game tickets for the Rampage cost $20 per person, which is a pretty good bargain, and they also frequently offer specials for games during the week which have discounted ticket prices. The concessions costs don’t really come down from what they are during Spurs games, but you can still get a pretty good deal at vendors like Whataburger, Pizza Hut, and Taco Bell. And as a plus, the parking costs are quite a bargain from what they are when the NBA is in town.
The AHL is the direct minor league to the NHL so you will often see high draft picks, journeyman veterans, and players rehabbing. What this means is you’ll often get a chance to see some top talent at Rampage games for bargain-level prices. Plus, hockey in person is a blast and has to be experienced at least once in your sports viewing life – Rampage games would give you a great entry into the sport at a top notch facility.
There isn’t much in the way of extras at Rampage games, but they do frequently have promotional nights; Pink the Rink night is always a popular one. Rampage fans can also count on the team’s mascot, T-Bone, to lead them in cheers, pound the glass, and roam the stands during contests or for photo ops.
During the 2018-19 season, the Rampage unveiled a unique new marketing campaign; on select nights the team embraces the Hispanic roots of their home town and become Los Chimuelos de San Antonio. Liberally translated as “toothless ones” (totally befitting of a hockey team), the promotion proved to be a big hit with fans, so the staff will be bringing it back again this year.
Hockey is a great sport to watch in person. I can’t say I’ve been to a ton of other hockey venues, but I have found few to match what AT&T Center has to offer in terms of in-game experience for fans. Going to Rampage games is a great way to introduce new fans, young and old, to the sport of hockey, and it is also a great way for hockey junkies to more than satisfy their cravings.
AT&T Center continues to be head and shoulders the best venue for sports in South Texas, and I think anyone who catches a Rampage game will agree.