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Oakland Raiders Confirm Talks with San Antonio Officials

Jul 30 2014, 6:29pm CDT | by , in News | Latest Sports News

Oakland Raiders Confirm Talks with San Antonio Officials
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The Oakland Raiders confirmed they had discussions with San Antonio, Tex. officials on possibly moving the team to Texas, per The San Antonio Express-News.

The Oakland Raiders have been in discussions with San Antonio officials on possibly moving the team to Texas. 

Josh Baugh and Tom Osborn of The San Antonio Express-News reports Raiders owner Mark Davis met with the officials on July 18: 

"Oakland Raiders owner Mark Davis and two top lieutenants met recently with several San Antonio officials to discuss the potential of moving his NFL team from the Bay Area to the Alamo City, local leaders involved in the talks confirmed Tuesday.

"On the weekend of July 18, Davis met with the officials, including Henry Cisneros, then-mayor Julian 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.

"Last Tuesday, after the Express-News published a version of this story on its websites, Sculley issued a memo to the City Council.

"'I was asked to meet two weeks ago with the owner of the Oakland Raiders, Mark Davis, and members of his staff. Mr. Davis has expressed interest in a possible relocation of his NFL team to San Antonio and we are engaged in preliminary due diligence,' she wrote. 'The agenda for this visit included a tour of the Alamodome and meetings with local business leaders.'

"Sculley wrote that those discussions were preliminary and confidential and that she would update the council as things progressed.

"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.

"Cisneros, who led the charge to build the Alamodome when he was mayor, has been described by sources as the architect of the meeting. His son-in-law, Brad Badger, is in corporate sponsorship sales for the Raiders.

"When reached by The San Antonio Express-News, he tempered the significance of the meetings. Cisneros said that over the years, he'd become friends with Davis, who was already coming to San Anotnio for an event. Cisneros said he wanted to take the opportunity to make a pitch to Davis in case he decides to relocate the team.

"'So we spent the weekend and took advantage of the opportunity to show him facilities in San Antonio as well as have him meet key leaders in San Antonio.'

"Davis and his associates spent two or three days here, visiting the Alamodome and other places, sources familiar with the talks said. They also took an aerial tour of the city in a helicopter, arranged by developer Marty Wender.

"With some upgrades, the Alamodome could be ready for a 2015-16 NFL season, though it would be a temporary home at best. NFL teams likely would need 100 suites, and the Alamodome currenlty has 52. It physically could facilitate the addition of 48 more, but funding has yet to be earmarked by the city for such upgrades."  

Should the Raiders move to San Antonio, Houston Texans owner Bob McNair wouldn't be opposed to it, per ESPN's Tania Ganguli: 

"As chairman of the finance committee, Texas owner Bob McNair's opinion will impact any team's move. With the Oakland Raiders reportedly considering a move to San Antonio, Texas, he said Tuesday he is withholding judgment until he knows all the facts.

"'I wouldn't oppose it just because it's in San Antonio,' McNair said. 'I'm in favor of doing what strenghtens the league where it makes sense. We need to have strong franchises. We want it to be a competitive league for a long time. To do that you've got to have strong franchises wherever they are...'

"...'You'd have to do some market research on what to see what level of support might be there,' McNair said of San Antonio. 'They've got a great owner in the (San Antonio) Spurs in Peter Holt. He's done a great job over there and the city has supported them. When you started getting more and more major league teams, you start having to spread that support out. You have to look at what level of support is there and is there enough?'

"McNair said he was not concerned about the prospect of a team from San Antonio taking away Texans fans. 

"'We have a growing fan base there and it's going to continue to grow,' McNair said. 'If there was a team there and we were over there playing, I think half the fans int he stands would be ours. It'd be a difficult situation, I think, for San Antonio.'

 

"Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones also did not seem concerned by the Raiders' reported interest in San Antonio when he commented on the topic Tuesday afternoon.

"'I don't make a lot of this at all,' Jones said Tuesday afternoon. 'Again, my interest in San Antonio is because of how important it is to the Cowboys and our history of having training camp there and the fact that we have such a tremendous fan base in San Antonio.'"

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