SAN ANTONIO - If San Antonio ever wants to prove it can be a permanent NFL city, then it may have to seek a temporary solution first.
That opportunity has resurfaced with news that the Raiders may have to find another city to play in next season.
The city of Oakland filed a lawsuit on Tuesday against the franchise and the NFL seeking damages for what it calls an illegal move to Las Vegas, which will be the Raiders' new home in 2020.
That has put into question where the Raiders will play in 2019. In comes San Antonio.
Spoke to Mayor @Ron_Nirenberg about latest news regarding #Raiders and possible temporary relocation to SA, plus comments by owner Mark Davis about the turf at @Alamodome...Mayor says he's made sure SA is on Raiders radar, looks forward to next few months #KSATnews #KSATsports pic.twitter.com/rfvYup4KHW — RJ Marquez (@KSATRJ) December 13, 2018
Unlike previous instances where the city has been used as leverage for the Raiders and NFL, there would be an immediate and clear understanding that this particular move would only be for one season.
It’s an opportunity Mayor Ron Nirenberg believes would be beneficial in the long run.
“The message to that franchise and the NFL as a whole is that in terms of NFL ready stadiums, there’s not a better place or market than San Antonio,” Nirenberg said. “We want to make sure that we are on their radar and I have. We look forward to the next few months and seeing how that all shakes out, but San Antonio is a place that would thrive with professional football.”
After the lawsuit was officially filed, Raiders owner Mark Davis spoke about the team temporarily relocating and said all options were on the table. However, he said he was not a fan of the Alamodome turf.
Nirenberg said that would ultimately not be a major factor in the decision to temporarily relocate and there have already been plans to replace the turf with a state-of-the-art playing surface.
“We’ve heard from other teams in many sports, including football, that it’s one of the best surfaces to play on, but that aside, turf is not going to the calculus for the Oakland Raiders, I can assure you that,” Nirenberg said.
In November, Davis told ESPN he would ultimately prefer to keep the Raiders in Oakland next season.
The franchise has played in Oakland for more than 40 years and Davis said he does not want to turn on the fans during its final season in the Bay Area, and can hopefully come to an arrangement with the city.
Nirenberg remains confident in the city’s path to NFL football even if the Raiders do not come to San Antonio on a temporary basis.
“Football and sports in general, the profile in San Antonio is rising. I’m confident about its future,” Nirenberg said. “As it relates to the speculation of NFL teams, and the possible relocation, temporary or otherwise, we just want to make sure San Antonio is on the map and I’m confident that we are.”
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