SAN ANTONIO — The Bexar County commissioners voted unanimously to waive a $5 million callback fee to be paid by San Antonio FC if they didn’t make it to Major League Soccer.
After what commissioners called a “bamboozling” in how the MLS bid played out, the court felt it was unfair to hold the team accountable for the league's actions.
The vote to amend the lease agreement was approved pending a similar agreement being reached with the City of San Antonio, according to the Bexar County Judge.
According to Bobby Perez, the chief legal officer for Spurs Sports and Entertainment, there was a clause within the lease agreement for Toyota Field with Bexar County and the City of San Antonio they would pay this callback fee if they didn’t make it to MLS. The agreement was struck in 2015.
“Unbeknownst to city, county, our company, MLS had sold the rights to this territory to another company, maybe circa 2013 and 2014, well before this deal was done and consummated,” Perez said during Tuesday’s commissioner's court meeting.
“In 2017, almost two years after the transaction closed, MLS said, ‘San Antonio you will not be considered because the territorial rights belong to another entity,’” Perez added.
Bexar County Judge Nelson Wolff called it the “most degrading action” in how San Antonio was snubbed by Major League Soccer.
“You built a wonderful team, you’ve given jobs to people, and MLS, we can’t hold you accountable for their skullduggery, I think it’s a fair thing for us to do," Judge Wolff said during his remarks.
Despite the failed MLS bid, San Antonio FC enjoyed success including a championship season this year by winning the United Soccer League title in front of its home fans, defeating Louisville City FC 3-1. SAFC also beat Austin FC 2-1 during the third round of the US Open Cup back in April.
Judge Wolff believes the future for SAFC is bright within USL.
“I think we have a great league, I think they’re just about as good as MLS, and they won a big championship this year, so we’ve got a lot to be proud of, and I think it's deserving to do that,” Judge Wolff said.
KENS 5 has reached out to the City of San Antonio staff to see if a similar agreement will be met. We also reached out to Spurs Sports & Entertainment to see if they would offer a comment on the lease agreement amendment. Neither have responded at our deadline.