San Antonio, TX (SportsNetwork.com) - The Oakland Raiders, whose lease at O.co Coliseum expires next year, are apparently shopping for a new location, landing in Texas almost two weeks ago.
The Express-News on Tuesday cited sources which claimed that Raiders owner Mark Davis and two others involved with the franchise met with several movers and shakers in San Antonio, including recently-departed mayor Julian Castro and city manager Sheryl Sculley.
Also reported to be in the talks was former U.S. Secretary of Housing and Urban Development, Henry Cisneros, who as mayor from 1981-89, spearheaded the effort to build the Alamodome.
According to the paper, Davis told city leaders that he wants the Raiders to play in a more intimate venue, but would ask they cit for a newer facility once the Raiders proved themselves in their new home. The Alamodome, opened in 1993, has a current capacity of 65,000 for football.
Before a move can be consummated, however, a three-fourths majority of NFL owners have to sign off on the relocation.
The city, whose population has swelled to more than one million since 2000, ranks 37th in the country's top television markets. Davis told the paper he believes the transition wouldn't hurt the club's fan base, which has a significant Hispanic following.
San Antonio has fielded several professional football teams in the last 40 years, beginning with Wings of the World Football League in 1975. The Gunslingers took the field for the 1984 and '85 spring seasons in the USFL, the Riders participated in the World League of American Football's 1991 season, and the Texans were part of the CFL in 1995.
New Orleans Saints owner Tom Benson engaged in serious discussions with then- mayor Phil Hardberger in 2005 about hosting the franchise after Hurricane Katrina decimated the Superdome. The Saints played three games in the venue, but eventually returned to Louisiana the next year.