In case the Mark Davis feels like moving the Raiders to San Antonio, there’s already branding in place. The NFL even owns it.
The World League of American Football launched in the early 90’s, a half-hearted attempt to grow American football in Europe and shore up former USFL markets. Operating the league became a drain, and after shrinking to become a entirely European affair (NFL Europe), the league shut down after the 2007 season. Yet there are still reminders of the San Antonio RIDERS, only one letter removed from RAIDERS. The color scheme is 80’s-90’s awful, so it would be best if the Raiders stuck with the historical scheme, similar to the NBA Spurs.
Around the time Alameda County was approving the A’s lease, a report came out of the San Antonio Express News indicating that Mark Davis met with officials in SA over the weekend. Reached for comment, Davis said the following:
“Former San Antonio mayor Henry Cisneros is a friend and Henry suggested I take the opportunity to meet with some city officials while I was in town. I have nothing further to discuss on the topic.”
After his mayoral stint, Cisneros went to become HUD Secretary during the Clinton administration, then was taken down by a mistress scandal. Davis also met with current mayor Julian Castro, City Manager Sheryl Sculley, San Antonio Spurs owner Peter Holt, former Minnesota Vikings owner Red McCombs, and representatives from the San Antonio Chamber of Commerce. Together they toured the Alamodome and talked about San Antonio as a market.
The Houston Chronicle noted that Cisneros’s son-in-law is Brad Badger, a former Raiders and Stanford offensive lineman who now works in team’s corporate sales department. Sculley made her own statement:
“I was asked to meet two weeks ago with the owner of the Oakland Raiders, Mark Davis, and members of his staff. Mr. Davis has expressed interest in a possible relocation of his NFL team to San Antonio and we are engaged in preliminary due diligience. The agenda for this visit included a tour of the Alamodome and meetings with local business leaders.”
If Davis is going to use whatever leverage he has, the effort will have to involve making visits to San Antonio, Portland, and inevitably, Los Angeles. Heck, Minnesota leaders flinched big time just from a sighting of Vikings owner Zygi Wilf’s plane in LA. It doesn’t matter much that San Antonio is a small market. Football’s largely forgiving of that provided that there are enough regional corporate interests (Hello, Austin!) to bring in. San Antonio’s biggest problems are that the market is already a Cowboys stronghold (and Texans to a lesser extent), since the Cowboys have conducted training camp at the Alamodome on multiple occasions. Cowboys owner Jerry Jones signaled the difficulty Davis and San Antonio might face:
Jerry hadn’t heard about Raiders considering move to San Antonio, which is Cowboys country. “That’d be difficult for them to make headway.”
— Tim MacMahon (@espn_macmahon) July 29, 2014
I wonder what Jerruh and Mark will talk about during the joint practice sessions set for August 12-13 in Oxnard?
Beyond the pre-existing teams, San Antonio faces the same problem all other prospective Raiders host cities faces: they need a new stadium. The NFL has set the whole thing up so that a team really couldn’t move permanently unless a stadium deal is in place, since the NFL provides a large amount of financing. And that piece doesn’t come until the public/team portions are committed.
I’m more curious about the reactions from Oakland, Alameda County, and Raiders fans are than anything else regarding this trip. This is how the stadium game is played, nothing more.