There's been a buzz lately about the potential for the Oakland Raiders moving to south Texas, possibly giving the Alamo City its second major league franchise. However, don't forget about the San Antonio Scorpions and their bid to land a Major League Soccer franchise.
Last month, the deputy commissioner of the MLS named Austin, Las Vegas, Minneapolis, Sacramento and San Antonio as potential landing spots for the league's 24th and final expansion team. Among the criteria for landing the spot: A shiny new stadium and a healthy fan base, both of which the Scorpions have.
Some people feel the ideal spot is downtown, and Toyota Field is not downtown, but in northeast San Antonio. However, it is close to I-35, which could attract fans from New Braunfels and Austin.
"If we can do this, what we can bring to San Antonio is very similar to what the Spurs did 42 years ago," Scorpions owner Gordon Hartman said.
We all know what happened since the Spurs arrived: five championships and a lot of pride. Now, a couple of years since the Scorpions made their debut in a league just below Major League Soccer, fans are eager to make the jump to the next level.
"There is a lot of buzz and a lot of desire, and it's not just the 8,000 people who come to a game," Hartman said. "It's out in the community, it's people. I was in a restaurant yesterday and this guy basically yells across: 'Hey Gordo,n keep working on that MLS thing.'"
Hartman said he's currently in talks with numerous potential investors. Combine that with the current soccer-specific stadium of Toyota Field (which can easily be expanded) and strong support from the city, and Hartman said San Antonio has all the right ingredients.
"We can do it, but we cannot wait around to do it. We need to move on it, if we're going to seize the moment," Hartman said.
Hartman wouldn't put a timeline on when that happens since it depends on how talks and momentum develop between everyone involved. And if there's one person to impress, it's the MLS commissioner. After the commissioner's visit to San Antonio earlier this year, Hartman has established a dialogue that appears to be full of praise.
"His basic comments and general sense to me is 'Gordon, keep moving, keep moving in that direction. San Antonio has a lot to offer, I see it, I think we see it in the MLS. Let's continue this process,'" Hartman said.
Former Mayor Julian Castro vocalized his desire for MLS to take a look at San Antonio as an expansion team. Eyewitness News reached out to Mayor Ivy Taylor to see whether she plans to do the same and received the following statement:
"The City has been involved in previous discussions about the possibility of Major League Soccer in San Antonio. Although I am not currently engaged in conversations with MLS, I recognize the interest by the community in this opportunity and am open to further dialog with the MLS Commissioner."