San Antonio is defined by the Spurs, one of the NBA's most successful franchises over the past two decades. And if the Spurs have anything to say about it, it will remain that way.
The NFL's Oakland Raiders are interested enough in relocating to San Antonio that owner Mark Davis met with city officials about a possible move in July. The San Antonio Express-News said the Spurs would be opposed to that move, saying they are concerned about their long-term economic future if they had to compete with another pro team for sponsorships, suite sales and ticket sales. That's a viable concern in a small market.
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The apparent solution, the Express-News story said, is that the holding company that controls the Spurs wants to take control of the Raiders if they move to San Antonio. It seems incredibly difficult to believe Davis, who visited the home of Spurs owner Peter Holt during his visit to San Antonio in July, would have the least bit of interest in that.
“I would be more excited about the Oakland Raiders moving to San Antonio if the Spurs ownership group had the possibility of purchasing the team,” said Charlie Amato, a Spurs shareholder, to the Express-News.
The Spurs' opposition could put San Antonio in a difficult spot. Adding an NFL team, if the Raiders were serious about moving and could get NFL approval to do so, would definitely increase the visibility of San Antonio. The Raiders' lease at their stadium in Oakland is up after this year, and the team has been vocal about wanting a new stadium. Adding an NFL team is an incomparable boost for the reputation of a city, especially one the size of San Antonio. But the Spurs have been phenomenal for San Antonio. The Spurs just won their fifth NBA title and their style of play draws universal respect in the sporting world. San Antonio City Council member Joe Krier summed up what the NBA team's objections might do to the Raiders wanting to move there.
“(Former U.S. Sen.) Phil Gramm used to say, 'It never hurts to tell your sweetheart you love her,'” Krier said, according to the Express-News. “The Spurs have been our sweetheart for 30 years. They have put this community on the map. This community has given them its love and affection. I wouldn't want to do something that says, 'You're my old girlfriend, but the Oakland Raiders called, and y'all kind of need to take one step back so we can start dancing with our new girlfriend.'"
It's unclear if the Spurs would have any power to thrwart a Raiders move, other than leaning on local politicians who feel justified respect and loyalty to the NBA team. But at the moment it doesn't seem like there would be a lot of synergy between the two pro teams, if the Raiders actually do want to move there someday.
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