Oakland Raiders owner Mark Davis along with two top team officials recently met with several San Antonio officials to discuss the possibility of moving his team from Oakland to San Antonio, according to a report from the San Antonio Express-News.
On July 18, Davis met with the officials, including Henry Cisneros, then-Mayor Julián Castro, City Manager Sheryl Sculley, Mario Hernandez of the San Antonio Economic Development Foundation, and both Richard Perez and David McGee, the president and chairman of the San Antonio Chamber of Commerce, respectively.
San Antonio has often been used as a bargaining chip for pro sports franchises trying to negotiate better deals in their own respective cities, but sources have characterized Davis’ interest in San Antonio to be at least somewhat more serious. He is clearly perturbed with his current situation in Oakland, where the team’s lease expires after the 2014-15 season.
This report isn’t exactly surprising and is probably just the first to come as Davis looks to get a new stadium built for the Raiders, either in another city or in Oakland after using these other cities as leverage to sweeten the deal.
San Antonio is up there with Los Angeles as a ready-made landing spot for an NFL team. It’s in football crazy Texas; they have a stadium in the Alamodome that, while not state of the art, can accommodate a team right away for minimal expense while a new stadium is built. It also boasts a decent market size, even if this is less important in football than in other sports with the big national television deals.
For fans of Oakland’s sports teams, relocation threats have become a regular occurrence. However, a move to San Antonio into the mix would put the team much further away than the Warriors moving to San Francisco or the A’s moving to San Jose, or even the Raiders moving to Los Angeles or Portland.
The Coliseum City project is complicated, due not just to politics but logistics as well. Both the Raiders and A’s want their own stadiums, and the idea of two new facilities getting built in the near future on the same site seems like a long shot. Plus, if a facility can be built for only one team, the A’s have a large advantage in the number of home games. The Warriors staying in Oakland has almost zero chance of happening, with them already purchasing land in San Francisco with plans to build an arena they’d like to open by 2018.
With the A’s signing a new 10-year lease to stay until at least 2018 and as late as 2024, perhaps the Raiders feel that the city have already made their choice between the two teams. Perhaps they’re just looking for leverage, since things are progressing so slowly with the city of Oakland and they’ll need a place to play if the city decides the A’s are a higher priority.