With the Oakland Raiders looking for a home in 2016, San Antonio is increasingly looking like a realistic option. The city is pushing for owner Mark Davis to relocate the Raiders and have them join the Dallas Cowboys and Houston Texans as the third team in Texas.
“I don’t believe you’re going to find anywhere in the United States that will match what we’ve got put together,” former Minnesota Vikings owner Red McCombs told ESPN Radio in San Antonio on Wednesday. “We still have to get Mark to want to come here.”
The St. Louis Rams are headed to Los Angeles next season, and the NFL has given the San Diego Chargers approval to do the same. The Raiders’ lease with the Oakland Coliseum has run out, with the team looking for a new home. The Raiders, who have been based in California since their inception in 1959, may be exploring options to leave the state.
In August, San Antonio Mayor Ivy Taylor said the city would be open to hosting the Raiders on an interim basis. The city's most viable option is the Alamodome, which seats 65,000 and was constructed with the intention of luring a professional football team. In 2005, the indoor stadium hosted three New Orleans Saints regular-season games, but it is not considered a long-term solution for an NFL team.
McCombs told ESPN that there are multiple locations in San Antonio that could be used to build a new stadium, claiming that he has “serious commitments” from 12 corporate sponsors. Jason Cole of Bleacher Report reports that the Raiders also own land in San Antonio where a stadium could be built.
McCombs has even offered to invest in the team if that would mean getting Davis to make the move. The 88-year-old billionaire is seemingly willing to do whatever it takes to get the Raiders to San Antonio.
The city’s former mayor, Henry Cisneros, is also making a play to get the Raiders to San Antonio. He believes the Raiders will inquire with him about making the move, as Davis has shown that he’s more than willing to get the team out of Oakland.
“The stakes are so high for a city like San Antonio that is on the cusp of being an NFL market that it is worth making every effort,” Cisneros told the San Antonio Business Journal. “This may be our best chance in decades.”
The Raiders would need at least 24 votes from the league’s 32 owners to approve a relocation to San Antonio. When the Raiders met with San Antonio officials last summer about potentially relocating there, Texans owner Bob McNair said he wouldn’t oppose the move. Cowboys owner Jerry Jones, who led the charge to have the Rams and Chargers share a stadium in Los Angeles, didn’t seem too thrilled about the idea of San Antonio getting an NFL team.
“What I will say is San Antonio is very important to the Dallas Cowboys,” Jones told reporters in July of 2014. “We have the exact same percentage of fans in San Antonio as we do in Plano, Texas— about 98 percent."
The team could remain in Oakland, signing a new lease with the Coliseum or building a new stadium in the Bay Area. The NFL will give the Raiders $100 million to help build a new venue in Oakland, though that would only cover a small portion of the costs. The Raiders could also be a second tenant in the Rams' proposed stadium in Inglewood, California, but only if the Chargers decide not to move there.
San Antonio's only major professional sports team is the NBA's Spurs. Coincidentally, the Spurs and Raiders both wear silver and black uniforms.