Scott Ball / Rivard Report
Cincinnati; Detroit; Nashville, Tennessee; and Sacramento, California, were announced as the four cities competing for the first two of four MLS expansion slots. While not currently in consideration for franchise expansion, the league stated San Antonio is still under consideration for two more franchise expansion opportunities being announced at a later date. The two franchises available in this first phase of consideration will be announced before the end of the year.
Bexar County Judge Nelson Wolff said he was disappointed but not surprised by the news that San Antonio was not being considered in the first phase of the expansion process. One month ago he requested that MLS Commissioner Don Garber clarify the status of San Antonio's bid while simultaneously tasking Bexar County District Attorney Nicholas "Nico" LaHood with investigating whether the league mislead the County about its prospects for landing an expansion club.
Speaking to reporters Wednesday afternoon, Wolff said he predicted the district attorney's report would be released in the next month.
"I just believe the whole process was tainted and not done in a very fair way," Wolff said. "It's very discouraging."
He had not been informed previously about the decision by either MLS or Spurs Sports & Entertainment, the ownership group for San Antonio's expansion bid, Wolff stated. Spurs Sports & Entertainment owns and operates San Antonio FC, which recently completed its second season in the minor league United Soccer League and plays at Toyota Field.
“Based on discussions between MLS and the Spurs, consideration of the Spurs’ application is being deferred until the second phase of the expansion process ...,” Wolff stated. "Who knows when the next go around is going to be. I don't have any idea."
San Antonio is one of 12 cities that submitted formal bids this year for the expansion franchises. Mayor Ron Nirenberg told the Rivard Report that he also wanted further clarification on the status of the city's application.
Out of all the professional sports, he said, studies have shown MLS is San Antonio's best bet, but in the larger scheme of economic development "I would certainly have other priorities." Those priorities include attracting more jobs and developing the city's tech center.