The arena will serve as a hub for concerts, esports, speakers, engineering, startup resources, and the future of innovation in Texas.
For decades, Port San Antonio has been a driving force for creating jobs and opportunities in the community. A hub for technology, Port San Antonio and its Tech Port serve as an innovation campus with facilities to help innovators and entrepreneurs deliver technology solutions, including aerospace, defense, cybersecurity, supply-chain logistics, and other industries.
In May, Port San Antonio unveiled the Tech Port Center + Arena — a $70 million, 130,000-square-foot-facility touted as "the most technologically advanced entertainment venue in the world." Managed by ASM Global, the arena hosted its first official sold-out concerts with performances by Smashing Pumpkins, and most recently, fans gathered for rap artist Kevin Gates. But, hosting blockbuster performers is only one aspect of the center's mission.
TXi spoke with Port San Antonio Chief of Staff and Chief Communications Officer Paco Felici to explore the center's impact and the future of the venue.
Transforming the Entertainment Experience
The Tech Port Center + Arena is located 10 minutes from downtown and was designed to create a new kind of entertainment experience hosting world-class live concerts, performances, esports, conventions, and more.
"Candidly, it stands apart from venues nationally and internationally. Nowhere else will you find these diverse components under a single roof: a vast space that can serve to host more than 3,000 people simultaneously for everything from a rock concert to an esports tournament to a trade show to a product launch, all operating alongside a technology museum, industry showroom, food hall with a wide diversity of local offerings; one of the most state-of-the-art LAN gaming centers in the nation, and a collaborative prototyping lab that caters to startups and mature industries alike."
As the anticipation rose around the center's launch on the heels of the pandemic, Felici describes the commitment to advancing San Antonio's reputation as a vibrant and innovative city focused on building for the future.
"There was a lot of excitement building up from different constituents in San Antonio and beyond over the past several months. As the venue was still being built, the San Antonio Museum of Science and Technology, Genesis Systems, and Capital Factory were enthusiastic supporters and partners in the endeavor. And even before it was completed, numerous events started lining up, aware of the pent-up demand for people to return to in-person activities."
Innovation Will Shape the Future of San Antonio
If the inaugural events hosted at the center are any indication, the venue is on a trajectory to alter the way visitors visit and view the Alamo City.
"The results speak for themselves. Within our first few days since opening, we hosted a packed house for the Mayor's United 'State of the City' to kick off the venue. That was followed by a conference of innovators from across Texas and beyond, a program developed by the City of San Antonio's Office of Innovation. And then there were two concerts, the sold-out Smashing Pumpkins followed by Kevin Gates, which is near capacity. And the feedback we got following the Overwatch competition in early May was overwhelming. The players, coaches, and spectators consistently commented on how the space exceeded their expectations and is setting a brand new standard for esports."
Texans can expect to continue to see exciting things happen at the Tech Port Center + Arena. As summer comes into focus, visitors will be able to participate in a wide variety of programs and events that have something for everyone.
"Later this month, the venue will host a weeklong event, FORCECON, which underscores the versatility of Tech Port Center + Arena and how it can uniquely host a multi-faceted event that caters to very diverse constituents. In this case, the defense community, esports enthusiasts, startup companies and innovators, and concert-goers. In short, no matter one's background and interest, there are numerous entry points to participate in activities taking place at Tech Port Center + Arena, whether it is entertainment, education, career development [or] entrepreneurship."