Mayor Nirenberg: 'You will see an NFL team in San Antonio in the next 10 years'

Mayor sits down with KSAT to talk Alamodome, SA's viability as future NFL city

SAN ANTONIO – San Antonio Mayor Ron Nirenberg sat down with KSAT last week to discuss the future of the NFL in the Alamo City. Nirenberg believes San Antonio will be an NFL city within the next ten years. 

Here’s the one-on-one interview with the mayor where he discusses the viability of San Antonio as a pro sports city and whether the Alamodome is suitable for an NFL franchise in the near future.

Q. Any news on the LA Chargers and their reported problems selling personal seat licenses for a new stadium?

A. “There’s nothing specifically that relates to the Chargers and San Antonio, but what I will tell you is that this is increasingly a story. NFL teams per usual in waves look for places where they can find success in American cities. San Antonio to this date has not been an NFL city before but I think those days are coming to a close.” 

“I really believe the momentum that San Antonio has experienced over the last few years, most recently with the announcement of major jobs coming to Brooks City Base as well as the downtown UTSA campus and the rise of Texas A&M, the community college districts as well, you will see an NFL team in San Antonio in the next 10 years.”

Q. Why that 10-year timeline? 

A. “It’s a horizon. A fairly short horizon as it relates to the economic growth of the city. The economic growth of San Antonio and the success we are experiencing now is profound and it has been a concerted effort, a deliberate effort on my part and other city leaders to make sure that our profile in pro sports is rising.”

“Increasingly professional teams and leagues are looking to San Antonio as a place where they can find success and that’s very exciting for the San Antonio citizen in general who wants to see the economy of our city succeed, but its also great for San Antonio sports fans."

"San Antonio has shown success on the world stage with the spurs and with our economy continuing to grow, you will see our profile with pro sports also continue to grow as we take deliberate actions for what’s best in our community.”

Q. Is the Alamodome a viable building for an NFL franchise? 

“Some of the most memorable times and successful times in the Alamodome have been professional football and people remember the games we have hosted after Hurricane Katrina when the Saints needed a place to play.” 

“Sold out stadium, NFL ready fans, that is true about the Alamodome in 2005 and it’s true about the Alamodome today with the additional enhancements that were made.”

“San Antonio’s Alamodome is ready for an NFL team, however, we know that as these franchises grow they expect long-term homes to be designed and so forth. That is a conversation we will have in time, but the truth of the matter is if there was a home that an NFL franchise was looking for, the San Antonio Alamodome is one of the most ready facilities in the country.”

Q. What’s the latest on the Raiders possibly seeking a temporary home in San Antonio before the franchise moves to Las Vegas?

“We haven’t had any specific conversations with regard to that, but my goal as mayor is to make sure San Antonio is on the radar of every economic development and that includes professional sports that is in the best interest of the San Antonio community that would be a win for our citizens. We want to make sure that if there are talks about relocation, even if they are temporary, that San Antonio remains on the radar. That being said, were also not going to be playing second fiddle, we want to make sure that we put our best foot forward every time, but that when we do step out, it is in the best of our citizens.”

Q. Would you welcome the Raiders for a temporary stay? 

A. “Anytime there is an opportunity to prove a point that San Antonio is one of the elite cities of the world and one of the elite cities for professional sports, were going to take that opportunity if it’s in the best interest in our community, if it makes sense economically and for our community we will do that. We want to stay on the radar as those discussions begin to unfold, that being said, any specific discussions in regard to the raiders is in the camp of the NFL.”

Q. On future stadium possibilities in San Antonio?

A. “I wouldn’t want to speculate on that, but one of the great features and one of the great strengths is that we have a publicly owned stadium, a facility that is ready for almost any professional sports event under the sun. That’s the strength of the Alamodome. It gives us an opportunity to work with a franchise as we get ready for a more permanent location if that’s what the public desires.” 

Q. Have you had specific talks with the NFL about San Antonio’s viability to be the home for a franchise? 

“We have had conceptual conversations about that, and I would say those conversations will only grow as the economy continues to strengthen in San Antonio, which is so vitally important that we continue our focused efforts to grow jobs, to expand our airport, to make sure that we have all the educational opportunities to make San Antonio one of the most desirable places to live and to work in the United States.”

Q. What do you say about concerns that there are not enough corporate dollars in San Antonio to support an NFL franchise in the future?

A. “In San Antonio’s way, weaknesses become strengths and within the last two weeks we’ve had two recognizable and global services firms say they are going to grow in San Antonio, relocate American headquarters into San Antonio because they find opportunity here. Not just in terms of the fundamentals and infrasctructure, but because of the people, and the talent and workforce. That’s happening almost on a weekly basis.”

“Now you have the resurgence of the urban core, you have UTSA downtown master plan coming to life, you have USAA planting a flag in the middle of our city. All of these things are happening, creating momentum that makes San Antonio a desirable location for a lot of things including for professional sports.”  

“So we’ll look at those opportunities and be judicious about it and we will make sure that as we move forward and expand our professional sports profile here in San Antonio, we’re doing that in the best interest of the citizens in our community.”

Q. Why so confident in a 10-year timeline and why are we no longer just a pawn in the NFL’s relocation game?

A. “It’s the growth of the market. It’s the profile of San Antonio as a city of the world. Also having been a long time observer of how these franchises work and the way relocations happen and the communities that they settle into, partnerships with the citizens and the businesses and the public that is there.”

“As we continue our efforts to move San Antonio forward into this century all of those elements are falling into place for us. It gives us a great opportunity to be judicious and to be deliberate about how we move forward in professional sports, but I have no doubt that as our city continues to progress forward we will continuously be on the radar and well have the opportunity to pull the trigger when it matters.”

“San Antonio’s days of being leveraged for other cities is coming to a close. This is our time in San Antonio to shine on the national and international stage and were going to take advantage of every opportunity when it makes sense for the citizens of our community."

About the Author:

RJ Marquez has been at KSAT since 2010. He's covered a variety of stories and events across the San Antonio area, and is the lead reporter for KSAT Explains. He also covers the Spurs for on-air and digital platforms. You can see RJ regularly on KSAT Explains and Good Morning San Antonio. He also writes a weekly Spurs newsletter.