The Jeffersonian: Politicks, Sports, and Culture

Wednesday, May 11, 2005

The San Antonio Saints?

San Antonio news is all abuzz about the possibility that the New Orleans Saints might move and that SA might possibly be on their lists of prospective cities. Yup, read that again, an NFL franchise is thinking about moving, and we might be on their short list. And the Express-News believes this to be a top-5 story, above such stories as the state Senate passing a school finance plan and Bexar County following the lead of SA voters in implementing a tax freeze for senior citizens and the disabled. Let's not even talk about how many cities have used a threat to move to SA as leverage for a better deal in their hometown or the fact that these Saints to SA rumors have been around for, like, ten years.

But let's talk about this possible scenario for a second. Let's say Tom Benson does move his team to SA- not that out of the range of possibility since he owns a home in SA, a ranch near SA, and a few car dealerships in SA. What would it take to get them here? Try $170-200 million. That's how much Alamodome renovations and a practice field would cost. One of the big reasons that Benson wants to move his team to begin with is that the state of Louisiana would like him to pony up $40 million of the $170 million Superdome renovation cost.

We could get $30-35 million out of naming rights, and maybe squeeze $30 million out of Benson, but that still leaves SA taxpayers with $110-140 million to pay. Would San Antonians be willing to pay that much money for an NFL franchise- more specifically the Saints, one of the most unsuccessful franchises in NFL history? Don't know. But New Mexico is making a big play for them, and there's still the huge elephant in the room- Los Angeles. Finally, we'd have to worry about how much pressure Jerry Jones could exert at the ownership meeting where we'd still have to get 3/4 approval from team owners. Let's see how this all plays out, but I'm not too optimistic right now.

One final note, the Express-News also has the mayoral candidates' take on the possibility.

Phil Hardberger:
"Damn right I would look into it, I would look into it in my first 30 days as mayor."

Julian Castro:
"It would be a fantastic opportunity for San Antonio, but we would have to make it real and profitable for the city. If it looks possible it would definitely be part of my agenda."

Of course Julian, because profit played such a huge role for you in signing the MLS letter of understanding memorandum where you gave away $21 million- only to flip-flop when you saw there was 'limited community support'. Shouldn't you be figuring out community support before you go out and do stuff like this?