Legendary football coach Tom Landry once said, “Football is to Texas, what religion is to a priest.” The state might love football more than life itself. Yet, for whatever reason, the city of San Antonio doesn’t have its own NFL team. That could have changed if the Raiders moved to San Antonio instead of Las Vegas.
The skinny: After years of trying to gather support for a new stadium in Oakland failed, Mark Davis started exploring potential cities for relocation.
- Davis met with San Antonio officials in July 2014 to discuss a potential move to the city.
- Just four months after meeting with city officials, Davis took further steps to look into potential relocation to San Antonio.
- The Raiders ultimately moved on from San Antonio. In part, because Davis took issue with the turf at the Alamodome.
Davis started seriously exploring Las Vegas in 2015 as a destination. The Raiders filed paperwork in 2017 to relocate to Las Vegas. Now with the 2020 NFL season just months away, Allegiant Stadium is almost complete and the Las Vegas Raiders will kick off their new season in the new stadium.
Of course, it didn’t have to happen this way. Given everything that San Antonio has to offer, it would have been the perfect city for an NFL team.
The appeal of San Antonio: Beyond the hunger people in Texas have for football, the city of San Antonio is uniquely positioned well for an NFL team.
- Stadium – The Alamodome opened in 19990 and underwent renovations in 2017. It also boasts a capacity for 64,000 people and unveiled a new field turf before the 2019 season.
- Leadership – Mayor Ron Nirenberg has worked extensively to put the city on the NFL’s radar, laying the groundwork for a future team and believes it will happen in the next 10 years.
- Television Market – San Antonio boasts the 37th largest television market in the country, per Station Index, which ranks ahead of Las Vegas, Jacksonville, Buffalo and New Orleans.
- Attendance – Before the AAF folded, the San Antonio Commanders led the league in attendance with nearly 30,000 fans per game. Those numbers would skyrocket for an NFL team.
- Growing Population – It’s one of the fastest-growing cities in the US, per Census.gov,
- Austin, Texas – Just 74 miles apart, an NFL team in San Antonio could easily attract football fans from Austin. That means more than 3 million people in one of the fastest-growing regions in the US, sharing a football team.
This is exactly the kind of market that the NFL should want another team in. While Jerry Jones might fight against it, adding another NFL team in Texas would be an even greater revenue boost for the league.
Everything is in place for an NFL team to be successful immediately in San Antonio. Ownership won’t have to spend money to build a stadium, because the city has one ready and the renovations have kept it looking sharp. The desire for football is clearly there among the residents and city leaders. Of course, the television market and customers with money to spend are in abundance for an NFL team to take advantage of as well.
The bottom line: The NFL couldn’t have asked for a better city as the landing spot for an NFL team. Yet, Mark Davis looked past San Antonio over little things and moved the team to Las Vegas.
This can’t happen again. While so much focus is put on the NFL’s future in London, everything shows that San Antonio is deserving of its own NFL team.
While expansion might not be in the NFL’s future, relocation always seems to be a possibility. We’ve already seen that having two NFL teams in Los Angeles doesn’t work, but the Chargers could thrive in San Antonio. Let’s hope the NFL eventually comes to its senses and football lovers in southern Texas get the NFL team they deserve.