SAN ANTONIO – The Elmore Sports Group on Wednesday announced plans to move its Double-A team based in San Antonio to Amarillo for the 2019 season, with the hopes of moving its Triple-A team from Colorado to the Alamo City. Many leaders and residents are questioning where the new team will play and how much it’s going to cost.
It sounds like big news, but the desire to move the Triple-A team to San Antonio has been public since April 2016 when the group said San Antonio would get the team if it built a new stadium.
“I can almost guarantee that the new Triple-A Missions are not going to want to be in the existing stadium, regardless of whether it's updated,” said Kevin Wolff, Precinct 3 county commissioner. “They're going to want to move. They're going to want to move closer to downtown.”
Last summer, city officials discussed the idea of including money for a new stadium in the 2017 bond, but the allotment was never added.
In September, the city released a report by Barrett Sports Group, LLC, that focused on the feasibility of Triple-A and major league baseball in the city, focusing mostly on Triple-A. The report focused on seven potential locations for a new stadium, including Fox Tech High School and the Institute of Texan Cultures.
“Downtown would be a better spot than out of the way somewhere,” said Adrian Cruz, who was out with his family at Hemisfair Park, just a short walk from the Institute of Texan Cultures site. “It'll be a lot of out-of-towners, plus the hometown people like us, (who) would love to have downtown baseball right here.”
The report states that a new stadium would cost roughly $80 million, and the Elmore Sports Group has said on several occasions that it plans minimal, if any, investment in the project. The last two Triple-A stadiums built cost a combined $151.2 million, with public funds accounting for $136.5 million, more than 90 percent of the total cost.
“We have a lot of irons in the fire, the local community,” Wolff said. “We're working on Major League Soccer, which the county was really committed to.”
The county has pledged up to $35 million to upgrade Toyota Field in the hope of attracting a Major League Soccer team in the next expansion round. Wolff said it would make sense for the county to continue to focus on soccer and the city to focus on baseball if that’s what the taxpayers want.
Newly elected Mayor Ron Nirenberg released a brief statement following the Missions announcement, saying he’d have no further comment until the Elmore Sports Group presented the city with a stadium development plan that includes a private investment team.
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