5 Reasons Why San Antonio Will Never Get the Oakland Raiders

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Oakland Raiders' helmet. Photo courtesy of the Oakland Raiders.

Oakland Raiders' helmet. Photo courtesy of the Oakland Raiders.

Have we lost our minds, San Antonio? Two days after elected officials effectively killed VIA Metropolitan Transit's modern streetcar project amid considerable taxpayer opposition, some civic and business leaders are now fantasizing about San Antonio becoming the new home to the Oakland Raiders. The delusion, of course, is being driven by media hype.

In case you missed the stories, let me help you catch up. The Express-News broke the story, reporting that Henry Cisneros and other local officials met recently with Raiders owner Mark Davis, who is unhappy that Oakland has not built a new stadium for the team. I subscribe to the tablet edition of the Express-News, which gives me all digital access, so your print edition or digital access might offer different stories at different times. The Express-News floated the rumor on page one Wednesday: "Los Raiders just might play here" was the headline. The newspaper's digital archive dates the story late Tuesday night with an even stronger headline: "S.A may be home of Los Raiders." I assume local television sportscasters also went insane. I say assume because I wasn't watching.

By Thursday, the belated – but necessary – dose of truth in advertising made its way into the coverage as the newspaper started the slow process of undermining its own day one hype.

"San Antonio leaders react to raiders with mix of skepticism, hope"

"Buck Harvey: Cowboys protect turf for a reason"

Give it another few days, and we'll read all about Oakland and the Raiders patching things up. Local boosters will say we learn a little bit more each time we get duped. Let's be ready for the next one.

Here's a more accurate headline: "Zero Chance Oakland Raiders Are Moving to San Antonio."

Here are five reasons why:

1. San Antonio does not have an NFL-quality stadium. How many people would like to help build a $1 billion NFL football stadium with 100-plus corporate hospitality suites? Where would we put it? Oh, right where the Alamodome sits – after we knock it down. Let's ask the police and fire unions to take a smaller benefits package while we line up to meet Mark Davis.

The Alamodome at sunset. Photo courtesy of the City of San Antonio.

The Alamodome at sunset. Photo courtesy of the City of San Antonio.

2. San Antonio doesn't have the corporate base to support an NFL franchise. More than 100 suites? We run out of big employers real fast, and some of our companies – H-E-B and Rackspace come to mind – don't go all ga-ga throwing millions at corporate suites in sports facilities.

3. Dallas Cowboy Jerry Jones is the state's resident big boy bully. He isn't letting anyone else into the Texas sandbox he shares with the Houston Texans.

4.  San Antonio is happy with the five-time NBA Champion San Antonio Spurs – although we are unhappy with the stupid decision to place the publicly funded AT&T Center in the industrial corridor of the Eastside where it has led to zero economic or community development while robbing downtown of a major asset. Last time that will happen.

5. San Antonio has a reputation out there in the world of professional sports, where most owners act like rich, spoiled kids who can't get enough of two things: attention and other people's money. We are known for making ourselves available to whomever comes along – no marriage proposal necessary, thank you, just come on over for a good time and a couple of nights on the River Walk. We make it easy for all those spoiled owners to threaten to end their hometown relationships in favor of a fling with San Antonio. In the end, they go back home. They never call back. They don't even text. Don't fall for Mark Davis, San Antonio. He's already left town.

*Featured/top image: Oakland Raiders' helmet. Photo courtesy of the Oakland Raiders.

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15 thoughts on “5 Reasons Why San Antonio Will Never Get the Oakland Raiders

  1. “The Associated Press scooped the local media Tuesday night with this story that appeared on express-news.com: ‘Raiders owner confirms talks with San Antonio.'”

    Bob, the third paragraph of that AP story credits the Express-News for breaking the news. Here’s Josh Baugh’s article, which has been updated since it was originally posted two days ago: http://www.mysanantonio.com/sports/pro-sports/article/Oakland-Raiders-owner-in-talks-with-SA-to-5654812.php

    If you had read the story, I think you’d agree it wasn’t hyping the Raiders coming to San Antonio. The story broke the newsworthy fact that city officials met with Davis. Then it noted that all kinds of things stand in the way of the team actually coming here. For example:

    “But even if San Antonio ponies up an enticing deal and Davis ultimately decides to relocate here, the two sides would still face an uphill battle. San Antonio only ranks in the mid-30s in the nation’s top television markets and NFL owners — including the Dallas Cowboys and the Houston Texans — would have to vote on the deal. And whether the NFL would allow the team to leave the sixth largest media market for the 36th remains unclear.”

    Hope that helps, take care … John

    • Hi John
      We corrected the story as soon as we saw the tweet from Josh. While you are at it, why not look into the failure of your colleagues to acknowledge in their reporting and published stories who broke the “streetcar is dead”story? Have you acted on that one yet? We will stand by.



  2. Robert, enjoy the site.

    But seriously, any “Top X Reasons” list that contains 5 reasons that feature two or three sentence paragraphs gets a fail automatically because it shows that the reasons weren’t really thought out, just something you’ve always thought that you wrote off the top of your head. Also, any list that continues to inflate Jerry Jones influence like some type of boogie man who gains his strength from the fear he instills in people through myth also get’s an automatic fail.

    But, the worst is you list “Corporate Sponsorship” as a reason then list two companies as if it were difficult to list 20, it’s not. I could, right now, off the top of my head. BTW, companies buy multiple suites.

  3. Oh look, another negative played out “San Antonio can’t” article. Not surprised I suppose but it is a little surprising that its coming from someone that has been so pro downtown and pro SA lately. The type of articles are the roots and fuel of the minority that control SA and keep it being behind in many factors. Not just sports.

    • I’m not being negative. I’m being a realist. I simply do not believe the necessary pieces of the puzzle exist here to lure an NFL franchise, even a mediocre one with a history of leaving its community for greener pastures elsewhere. If the Raiders do leave Oakland I expect the owners and the League to look south to LA.

    • To Pete, A.D.D and others who describe my post as “negative”:

      I think you need to draw a distinction between that word and “objective.” Objectively speaking, I simply believe that it is all but impossible that the Raiders are coming here. Personally, I’d love major league baseball, NFL football, and MLS soccer to put teams here, but there are reasons in each instance why those leagues are not likely to select San Antonio. Given a choice, the Raiders wouldn’t be my NFL franchise of choice. I’d have preferred Red McCombs and his Vikings, but the larger point is that a state-of-the-art stadium that can attract the Super Bowl is probably a $750 million and up proposition and taxpayers don’t want to fund it.
      The AT&T Arena and the Alamodome, were each under $200 million, all in. Even if a Raiders stadium were built with public funds, we lack the corporate base to underwrite the marketing and suite costs. Most owners would want an I-35 stadium to attract Austin corporate dollars and fans, which rules out our downtown. Austin remains firmly in the throes of UT. The Spurs tried to make greater inroads in Austin, and it didn’t happen. Austin and San Antonio, despite their proximity, have no history of working together. Back in the ’90s, we couldn’t even agree to hold serious talks about building a regional airport.

      My story was published on July 31, and despite John Tedesco’s comment explaining how the Express-News would never hype the story, the newspaper and the SA Business Journal (even today) continue to publish stories that reflect their desire for the NFL to come here, but lack any informational value or context. Thanks to all for taking the time to comment. –RR

      • @Robert Rivard – If you chose the headline NEVER, then I think you are being negative. I think it is a legitimate possibility, but not very likely. Something around the order or 5-10%. Which isn’t much, but a lot more than “never”. I made my points about why it is possible in this comment section. It would go like this.

        1) California refuses to help Oakland build a stadium for the Raiders
        2) Mark Davis is forced to decide on moving the team or re-signing a lease to share A’s ballpark for next year
        3) No other cities can take an NFL team next year except for SA (LA does not have an arena for them)
        4) SA/Texas come up with public funds to help build the arena. Decide the best place is by the Forum to lure Austin fans and coporations. Austin loves it since it’s 45 mins – 1 hour away from an NFL team which has zero pro teams there. Austin legislators love football and would angle to get funding and support.
        5) Raiders can play in the Alamodome until a new stadium is built in North SA. (see Saints playing during Katrina)

        How is that not a possible (albeit unlikely) route to getting an NFL team in SA? There aren’t very many cities ready for an NFL team next year. And if Davis has to decide now, he doesn’t have many options. Its possible.

  4. Top 5 reasons these comments were almost better than the actual post.

    1. E-N drama. It’s clear folks at the E-N are keeping tabs on their former editor and looking to call him out on any little mistake. The investigative commenting by John Tedesco is solid work and a priceless piece of entertainment.

    2. More E-N drama…possibly? It can neither be confirmed nor denied that the “Josh” commenter is actually Josh Baugh trying to defend his work. If it was, the fact two E-N staffers are going after Bob would have been enough to give the win to the comments. Oh, and who made Josh the boss of “Top X Reasons” posts. I like short paragraphs.

    3. A.D.D has terrible form and could have been more expressive. Come on A.D.D. Only two sentences and no paragraph breaks? The first two comments set the precedent, stay in line. You’re better than that. You started off so passionate then burned out real quick. You could have given us a little more.

    4. I agree with Bob, S.A. will never get the Raiders. Too much money, too little of a media market.

    5. No reply from John Tedesco to Bob’s comment. Being an investigative reporter and all he could still be looking into it, and Bob is standing by. So the door is still open, Tedesco. Let’s hear it.

  5. I’m sorry, but anybody with an IQ of 80 or better can come up with reasons why something will not work. It takes genius to find the reasons why something will work, and San Antonio has plenty of smart people. I am glad you weren’t an advisor to Alexander G. Bell, Thomas Edison or Henry Ford.

    • Thanks, Jim. Spoken like a true sportswriter who hasn’t softened with time. IQ of 80? That’s talk radio stuff. Take some space here and explain to Rivard Report readers how we manage to finance the land and stadium for a team that would be making its third move in recent decades and offering San Antonio eight home games a year in return for building that stadium? Owner financed, or do you want taxpayers to underwrite the price of giving you an NFL franchise?


  6. San Antonio doesn’t have the resources to go it alone with an NFL team. It would have to be a joined venture between us and Austin. The stadium would have to be located in between both cities so that both populations can contribute to a having a larger audience. IMHO.

  7. Old article, but the earlier commentors are right. It’s easy to be negative and say it won’t work. Takes more of a brain to come up with solutions. And Roger Jimenez is right about his Austin comment. Here are my reasons to why the Raiders could go to SA.

    1) We can take advantage of Austin being the largest city without a sports team. Build the arena by Retama park (they tried giving away land for the Spurs to build there) , so it takes 45mins-1 hr to travel to it from Austin. Giving us access to Austin’s business, fan, and financial resources.

    2) The Oakland lease is up this year and needs to be extended by November. So if they don’t re-up with Oakland they will have move for the next year. San Antonio has a stadium that has show can host NFL games until a bigger one can be built. Not many cities are ready to host games for next season (LA is not ready)

    3) The Oakland Raiders are outrageously bad. Their attendence is bad. Local interest is small. Only NFL team to share a stadium. So they would love to move to football crazy San Antonio.

    4) California does not give public money for stadium projects. No reason to think they will for the Raiders a cast off franchise with no support or love. Where football starved SA and Texas would be more likely to give public money and tax breaks to lure an NFL team from that liberal state (Perry would go nuts to get it done – and he probably has more influence than Jerry Jones who couldn’t even get his stadium built in Dallas).

    5) Mark Davis could want to follow in his father’s maverick footsteps. Show Oakland and the NFL that he won’t be pushed around, marginalized, or belittled.

  8. So, does the $41 million renovation of the Alamodome change the game somewhat? The concourses will be wider, so that means more revenue opportunities. There will be new ribbon boards and better video screens. They already have some suites, how many do they want/need? I could see them adding field-level suites like in Dallas.

    What if they spent $100 million or more to make it even better? Still cheaper than a brand new stadium. A retractable roof perhaps? I’ve never been to San Antonio much less the Alamodome, but from the photos I have seen, it still looks like a great building with plenty of usefulness left in it as long as it’s maintained and kept up to date with technology. And, considering where the Raiders are playing now, it would be a huge upgrade even as-is.

    Too bad they couldn’t find a better configuration that worked for the Spurs long term. Perhaps it would have been better to curtain off the upper deck and instead build more temporary seats along the curtain. With the theater setup they have also figured out a way to “lower” the ceiling to make it feel more intimate when necessary.

  9. San Antonio has a larger corporate base than many existing NFL markets. San Antonio has a large metro population, nearly 2.5 million and if that’s not enough, but it is, Austin is in San Antonio’s backyard, well over 4.2 million people along an 80-100 mile stretch alongI-35, that is similar in size to the Miami-Ft Lauderdale-West Palm Beach market, that is 100 miles of southern Florida coast. Granted that region has a little over 5 million, the S.A./Austin region is growing exponentially, probably one of the fastest if not the fastest growing regions in the nation. We have big F 500 companies here, a total of 6 plus we have several that are F 1000, and the regional giants like Whataburger and HEB. San Antonio is big time, now, it’s not the 1990’s, anymore. Whoever says S.A. can’t is nothing more than, anti-San Antonio!

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