The Raiders are looking for a new stadium in Oakland, but are open to the idea of a Texas-sized move.
The Oakland Raiders are in limbo, looking for a new stadium deal in their current city but finding it hard to come by. The Raiders, who played in Oakland from 1960-81 before returning in 1995 after a stay in Los Angeles, are now talking to officials in San Antonio, TX about a possible move, according to Josh Baugh and Tom Orsborn of the San Antonio Express-News.
San Antonio has put considerable time and effort into pitching the Raiders. City officials put in ample time to make sure that Davis and his people would be given a grand tour, showcasing the best features of a city long thought to be a one-team town. The tour was all-inclusive, including a breakfast along the famous River Walk and a tour of potential stadium locations via helicopter.
Davis and his constituents were treated to a dinner at Ruth Chris Steakhouse that topped $2,000 for 17 people before alcohol. The bar tab came to $765, including one, high-class, Miller Lite. Davis was also put up at the Grand Hyatt and given a corner suite.
Following Davis' visit, San Antonio's director of convention Mike Sawaya sent Davis the following email, per the report:
"Marc — It was a real pleasure meeting you this weekend. I sincerely hope you had a positive impression of the prospects presented in San Antonio," Sawaya wrote. "I did speak to City Manager, Sheryl Sculley, after your send-off meeting yesterday. We are meeting today to determine next steps, and will provide you with whatever follow-up documentation that is necessary to keep our dialogue moving. I am making plans to attend your training camp next week in Napa, and will be in touch very soon."
San Antonio has been considering other teams for awhile, paying Premier Partnerships $15,000 in 2011 to put forth a study on the feasibility of pro sports in the city. The report stated that San Antonio was not ready for the NFL or MLB, due to a lack of Fortune 500 companies. The narrative is changing now, with the recommendation to speak with the Raiders about finances and a renovated Alamodome.
Spurs alright with move?
It had been reported that the NBA's San Antonio Spurs were not warm to the idea of sharing the city with another professional team. However, it appears those concerns might have been overstated. Spurs owner Peter Holt reportedly had good conversations with Raiders owner Mark Davis when they spoke at Holt's home, per the report.
"Peter assured Mark that (the Spurs) would not be a roadblock to the Raiders relocating to San Antonio and would find ways to work with them," the source said.
Davis told reporters on Tuesday that the meetings went well with San Antonio officials, but reiterated his interest in keeping the team in Oakland.
"It was a serious conversation," Davis told the San Francisco Chronicle. "I don't waste my time just having meetings. But we continue to try to get something done in Oakland."
If the Raiders -- or any team -- were to move to San Antonio, the Alamodome would appear the temporary home. According to the report, the Alamodome would need $27.4 million of renovations to meet NFL standards. Another 44 suites would be added at an approximate cost of $6 million, with 14 other suites altered at $1.4 million and a new sound system for $3.5 million.
Those changes would be in addition to the $43 million in renovations the facility would undergo if the city decides to submit another Final Four bid for the NCAA Men's Basketball championships.
The venue was built in 1993 and seats up to 72,000 fans. It has hosted six NFL preseason games, the last of which came in 2001 when the Vikings and Saints drew 46.752 fans.
Ties between San Antonio, Raiders
San Antonio mayor Henry Cisneros was the man behind the city's pitch to the Raiders. Cisneros' son-in-law played for the Raiders, but that is only the beginning of the ties. When the Raiders original owner, Al Davis, moved the team back to Oakland from Los Angeles, Robert Marbut Jr. helped to make the transition happen. These days, Marbut Jr. works as Cisneros' chief of staff.
The city of Oakland is dealing with all sorts of issues regarding its professional sports teams. The Golden State Warriors are moving to San Francisco after the 2017 season, leaving Oracle Arena for plush new digs in the more celebrated section of the Bay Area, per Eric Young of the San Francisco Business Times. The Warriors have been in Oakland since 1971 when they moved from San Francisco.
The biggest problem for the city's sports is O.co Coliseum, which currently houses both the Raiders and Major League Baseball's Athletics. The A's signed a new 10-year lease agreement this summer, with stipulations that allow them to move out of the building without penalty should they relocate somewhere in Oakland. Owner Lew Wolff has already hired an architect with the hope of building a new stadium in the footprint of the current ballpark, according to Joel Rosenblatt of Bloomberg.
The Raiders and A's are the only football and baseball teams sharing a multi-use stadium. Wolff is not interested in continuing the trend, preferring to build a baseball-only stadium while subsequently forcing Davis and the Raiders to look for another venue.