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Does San Antonio deserve more pro sports? | Commentary

Maybe the Spurs know they are the HOT sports ticket in town, and they don’t want anybody else? And I can respect that. Who knows?

TEXAS, USA — I’ve always heard that Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones will never allow an expansion NFL franchise to establish in San Antonio. And supposedly, the reason is that he knows Cowboys fandom extends the length of the Interstate 35 corridor from the Metroplex through Waco, Austin, San Antonio and all the way into Mexico. 

It would be hard to ever disagree with that. And I’ve always argued that the greater San Antonio market is more Dallas Cowboys "crazy" than even Dallas/Fort Worth, and I’d argue that point with the good folks of North Texas. The Alamo City is passion defined for America’s Team.

But who remembers post the devastation of Hurricane Katrina when the New Orleans Saints relocated to the Alamodome for that period? San Antonio NFL fans really embraced that, and the water cooler talk was that our city was making the statement that the league needed to see, for whatever that could mean for the future, an existing franchise relocating, or an expansion team coming to town. 

I’ve always assumed that the geographic logistics of having teams in Dallas and Houston simply crossed San Antonio off the map. But should that really factor into the equation? Chicago to Indianapolis drive time is only three hours. Isn’t that essentially drive time from San Antonio to Houston? Cleveland to Cincinnati drive time is four hours. That’s basically two hours less than driving from San Antonio to Dallas. What gives? I don’t think much from that perspective.

I’ve often heard folks talk about the lack of corporate dollars in our city. I’d say that’s a fair argument with the "tech" dollars that now exist in Austin compared to San Antonio. By the numbers, SATX is the seventh largest city in the country. But part of the problem is that San Antonio still falls under the small market umbrella. And that’s because outside of the city the population is not as dense as cities labeled as major media markets. The power of the almighty dollar always figures into sports, college, semi professional and professional.

And that makes me wonder, with our population listing as more than one point four million according to the 2020 census, why we don’t have more than Double A baseball. And I ask that with no disrespect. But San Antonio should command Triple A baseball without question. We had that level for 2019-2020, but that’s been it in recent years. In fact, here’s the wording from Wikipedia on what happened with the move back to Double A ball.

In conjunction with Major League Baseball's reorganization of the minors after the 2020 season, the Missions were selected to move back down to Double-A as affiliates of the San Diego Padres.

And I’d assume the long standing unresolved issue about Wolff Stadium has played heavily into any future decisions, too. But I’ll simply say, off the top, this city should, at the very least, have Triple A baseball. Now whether that’s on Bexar County or Missions executives, or both to figure out, the thought process should be advanced and investigated.

And I’ve talked to people that are terribly disappointed that Austin was awarded an MLS franchise while San Antonio was left at the start/finish line. There were certainly politics, money and strong arming involved, but have you been to Gordon Hartman’s Toyota Field? That stadium is five stars AND professional soccer ready. It’s quite the shame that didn’t work out. It should have.

And while I’m at it, San Antonio, it seems, is always used as that leverage city to frighten folks in other cities. Was the Oakland Raiders thing really ever real? I don’t think so. I mean, sure, Mark Davis came to town and checked out the Dome, but was that any more than optics to frighten the Bay Area, which oh by the way, lost their heralded franchise to Las Vegas. It annoys me that San Antonio has been used more than once to scare existing franchised professional sports cities into getting deals done, or sometimes not. Could we not support an MLB franchise? Could we not support an NHL franchise? Could we not support an NFL franchise? Clearly San Antonio doesn’t check every box.

I don’t know? Maybe the Spurs know they are the HOT sports ticket in town, and they don’t want anybody else? And I can respect that. Who knows? The conversation and debate is always fun. Sports!

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