The Jeffersonian: Politicks, Sports, and Culture

Friday, October 14, 2005

The Most Compelling Argument To Not Bring The Saints To SA

It'll hurt the Spurs:

The Saints will play in a full Alamodome Sunday, and this is another signal for Tom Benson. If 100 percent show up to see Michael Vick play at 50 percent, doesn't the math make relocation more promising?

Standing in the back of the crowd, more confused than excited, is a group that wonders if anyone is crunching the numbers. The Spurs won't say it publicly, because they know how it would look. But most in the organization know how hard they have had to work to sell the most successful franchise in sports in recent years, and they know about the pieces of this market pie.

They don't think two teams can make it in this city, not right now, and they have reason to be concerned.

The Spurs, not the Saints, would face the worst of this.


The Spurs know what they've done, and what they've had to sell. They were first blessed with David Robinson, then Tim Duncan, now Manu Ginobili. They've been lucky to market first-tier talent and first-class people.

Three championships? That ought to be worth a sold-out building every night.

But as one within the organization said Wednesday, using language that fits the sport, "nothing has been a slam dunk." These are the best of times for the Spurs, and yet marketing the team still requires the best from the sales force. The Spurs didn't come close to selling out every game last season, and they don't think they will this year, either.

Even though the Spurs draw massive television numbers and they draw the city together every spring, the attention doesn't necessarily spike at the box office. They make do by pairing together suite partners, by offering various ticket specials and by tapping into generous deals with sponsors.

It would be the irony of ironies if, in our dogged pursuit of an NFL team we spread our market too thin and quite possibly lose both the Spurs and this theoretical NFL franchise.

Buck Harvey's right, on the heels of two NBA championships in three years, one of the 25 greatest players of all-time in his prime, a coach/GM in his prime, and a Latino all-star just beginning to fully realize his impact- if we can't sell out every game right now, what happens in, say, 2012? When Duncan and Gino are done and Parker's on the decline. Can this city and this region support two potentially mediocre franchises then?