During a recent interview, San Antonio mayor Ron Nirenberg expressed his belief that there will be a San Antonio NFL team within the next 10 years.
Currently the second-most populous city in Texas, San Antonio has had a few links over the years to the NFL. That included a stint for the Alamodome (shown above in a football configuration) as a temporary home for the 2005 New Orleans Saints in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, and rumors several years ago about the Oakland Raiders potentially relocating there. However, it has never had an NFL team of its own.
Nirenberg discussed the city’s NFL prospects recently, suggesting that ongoing economic growth could make it a more viable market for the league and sharing his view that there will be “an NFL team in San Antonio in the next 10 years.” More from KSAT.com:
“I really believe the momentum that San Antonio has experienced over the last few years, most recently with the announcement of major jobs coming to Brooks City Base as well as the downtown UTSA campus and the rise of Texas A&M, the community college districts as well, you will see an NFL team in San Antonio in the next 10 years.”
Q. Why that 10-year timeline?
A. “It’s a horizon. A fairly short horizon as it relates to the economic growth of the city. The economic growth of San Antonio and the success we are experiencing now is profound and it has been a concerted effort, a deliberate effort on my part and other city leaders to make sure that our profile in pro sports is rising.”
“Increasingly professional teams and leagues are looking to San Antonio as a place where they can find success and that’s very exciting for the San Antonio citizen in general who wants to see the economy of our city succeed, but its also great for San Antonio sports fans.”
There are numerous factors to consider about the potential for a San Antonio NFL franchise. The recent moves of the Rams and Chargers to Los Angeles, along with the upcoming shift of the Raiders to Las Vegas, have quieted speculation over potential relocations of existing franchises. Furthermore, there has been no discussion of expansion by the NFL from the current total of 32 teams, and it would remain to be seen whether there is room for a third franchise in Texas with the Dallas Cowboys and Houston Texans already entrenched in the state.
San Antonio would also have to figure out whether a new NFL stadium would fit into its priorities, in the event that the Alamodome is not viewed as a long-term option. In the short run, the city already has a few sports facility issues to consider, including a potential new ballpark for Minor League Baseball’s San Antonio Missions (Class AAA; Pacific Coast League). There has also been discussion of an MLS expansion club playing out of an expanded Toyota Field, but that effort has come into doubt amidst discussions over a potential squad in Austin, as MLS officials have been clear that an Austin/San Antonio rivalry is not in the cards.
Perhaps at some point down the road San Antonio lands in the mix for an NFL franchise because, as Nirenberg suggests, continued economic growth will make it more tempting to the league. Those discussions would appear to be years away, however, as no immediate path to a permanent San Antonio NFL team exists and the city might to have sort out some pressing professional sports facility questions in the near future.
Image courtesy Alamodome.