San Antonio Out of Consideration for First Phase of MLS Expansion

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Toyota Field.

Scott Ball / Rivard Report

Toyota Field, jointly owned by Bexar County and the City of San Antonio, is the home of San Antonio FC of the United Soccer League.

San Antonio was left off the list of four finalist cities currently being considered for two Major League Soccer expansion teams, according to an announcement Wednesday by the league.

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.

7 thoughts on “San Antonio Out of Consideration for First Phase of MLS Expansion

  1. I am so confused how it’s ok to use City and County resources to go after an MLS franchise – that is now a failed bit – but it’s a waste of resources to go after Amazon HQ? Really disappointing “leadership.”

  2. I believe San Antonio benefits by being a minimal franchise sports city. I appreciate how our community gathers for events like Siclovia, Luminaria, Houston Street chalk fest, and other local community events. Other cities gather around their professional franchise sports teams and how unique is that? I myself prefer to go to a locally owned and unique restaurant rather than the Olive Gardens, McDonalds and Chick-fil-a’s. I agree that our city leaders efforts should primarily go to continuing to improve and encourage San Antonio’s current trendy path and I do not believe we should spend any taxpayer money to subsidize these franchise sport owners. If we can get a professional sports team with minimal taxpayer money, Ok, maybe a vote. I do think a team in the Mexican League (LigaX) would be superior to the MLS.

  3. I hate to see San Antonio, a beautiful thriving city, begging for scraps from the MLS table when we could be the envy of any city with a LigaX team playing to capacity crowds in an international sports scene. The derived benefits to the local economy such a team would bring are obvious.

    • I don’t think FIFA rules allow a city in another country with it’s own ‘tier 1’ soccer league to join the league of another country. I would be all for Liga MX in SA, but I would imagine MLS would fight tooth and nail to stop FIFA from granting a waiver.

  4. We could have both Liga MX de Bexar (SA Alamo Bears) and MLS San Antonio (SA Ranchers). They can play each other at the 2 new stadiums the tax payers are made to fund, and their fans can deride each other calling LigaMX the Puffy Tacos and the MLS Ranchers the Chile Queens. Simultaneously keeping SA lame and putting the Con in economic development.
    Better investment is to have large betting beer halls for games to TV with live music for breaks.

  5. Don, don’t forget like MLS has Canadian teams like Toronto, Vancouver and Montreal also Liga MX, could also, viably have teams in US, or even Canada.

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