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Spurs score new deal with San Antonio hospital system
March 14, 2017

Kawhi Leonard is among the players expected to benefit from a new deal between Spurs Sports & Entertainment and Methodist Healthcare System. CARLOS JAVIER SANCHEZ | SABJ

By W. Scott Bailey, San Antonio Business Journal

Spurs Sports & Entertainment has entered into what it characterizes as a "comprehensive strategic partnership" with one of the largest hospital systems in the region - Methodist Healthcare.

It's a deal that will give Methodist access to multiple pro sports franchises, a new presence in Austin and a platform from which to work with multiple partners to begin to develop San Antonio into a major center for sports medicine.

As part of the partnership, SS&E will have access to Methodist Healthcare's team of experts, nutritionists, physicians and facilities. Methodist will work with the parent company of the Spurs to address injury prevention, physical rehabilitation and to provide care for its players, coaches and staff.

R.C. Buford, general manager of the Spurs and president of Sports Franchises for SS&E, said the new deal will give the teams access to Methodist's "expertise and vast resources," elevating the level of care provided athletes.

"We've been working on this [deal] for a little over a year. It took a lot of moving pieces," Methodist Healthcare System President and CEO Jaime Wesolowski told me. "They don't do this lightly with any organization."

As part of the agreement, Methodist will be designated the official health care partner of Spurs and SS&E's other San Antonio franchises, including the WNBA Stars and AHL Rampage. The deal will also give Methodist branding opportunities with SS&E's NBA D-League team in Austin.

"The Spurs are a great brand. We will definitely use that brand with our hospitals at every opportunity," Wesolowski said.

Methodist's partnership with SS&E could also put the organization in a prime spot as San Antonio works to attract a Major League Soccer franchise as SS&E has taken the lead role in that pursuit. In the interim, Methodist will have an opportunity to hitch its brand to SS&E's United Soccer League team - San Antonio FC.

Aligning with SS&E has also allowed Methodist to team with Sports Medicine Associates of San Antonio, a group headed by Spurs senior team physician Dr. David Schmidt. The plan calls for SMASA and Methodist to work in tandem to position the region as a center for top-tier sports medicine and orthopedic care that would benefit athletes of all ages and level of competition.

"We want to take sports medicine to a place San Antonio has never dreamed of," Wesolowski said.

The health care system has a special bond with the Spurs and one of its most popular players, as Sean Elliott underwent a kidney transplant at Methodist Specialty and Transplant Hospital in San Antonio several years ago. Elliott, who has since retired, made history when he returned to the court on March 14, 2000, after the surgery.

Methodist operates 26 facilities in the region, including nine hospitals.


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