Oakland Raiders owner Mark Davis recently met with San Antonio officials about the possibility of moving the NFL franchise to Texas according to Tom Osborn and Josh Baugh of MySanAntonio.com.
While other cities are often used in professional sports as leverage to push a team’s own city into financing a new stadium, there are reasons to believe that this development is more than just an idle threat.
Raiders have little hope of getting a new stadium in Oakland.
Davis told San Antonio civic and business leaders during his trip that he wants a “small, intimate” stadium that he can place a statue of his late-father, Al Davis, in front of.
That is not happening in Oakland.
Oakland councilman Larry Reid told the San Jose Mercury-News that Oakland wants to keep the Raiders “but not at any cost” as the city and county have been unwilling to issue stadium bonds to fund the project.
Meanwhile, if a new stadium is built, the city would prefer a large, domed stadium that would attract other events.
San Antonio already has a stadium.
With the Raiders’ lease expiring at the end of this year in Oakland, if they are going to move, they need to move to a city that already has a stadium that can be used until a new stadium can be built.
San Antonio does have the Alamo Dome which can be used in the meantime.
The meetings in San Antonio were not publicized or courtesy.
Davis and his associates spent “two or three days” in San Antonio visiting with local leaders and it took nearly two weeks for word of the meetings to leak.
If Davis was not serious about a potential move to San Antonio and was just using the city as leverage, a more public visit would have had a stronger impact.
The Raiders have a history of leaving.
The Raiders left Oakland in 1981 and moved to Los Angeles. Thirteen years later they left Los Angeles and returned to Oakland.
Mark Davis learned from his dad and his dad was not afraid to pack his team up and go find a better deal.
Los Angeles is no closer to a future stadium.
Davis recently confirmed that he has considered returning the team to Los Angeles. However, the stadium situation in L.A. may not be any better than it is in Oakland.
After failing to find other ways to build a new stadium in L.A., the NFL is now considering the option of building their own stadium and leasing it to a future team. Considering the contentious history between the NFL and the Davis family, it seems unlikely that Mark Davis will want the NFL to be his team’s landlord.
The Raiders want to stay in Oakland, but may not have a choice.
The city of Oakland recently complicated matters by agreeing to a new 10-year lease with the A’s to continue using O.co Coliseum, the only stadium shared by NFL and MLB teams. The Raiders have expressed interest in tearing down O.co Coliseum and building a new stadium on the same land.
At this point, if the Raiders want a new stadium, San Antonio may be their only option.
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