The Oakland Raiders are considering relocation, with team owner Mark Davis traveling to San Antonio to meet with city officials about a possible move.
The meeting took place on the weekend of July 18, with Davis meeting San Antonio Mayor Julian Castro and other city leaders. News of the meeting broke on Tuesday, with the Express-News reporting on the meeting and prompting a response from City Manager Sheryl Sculley.
“I was asked to meet two weeks ago with the owner of the Oakland Raiders, Mark Davis, and members of his staff. Mr. Davis has expressed interest in a possible relocation of his NFL team to San Antonio and we are engaged in preliminary due diligence,” she wrote in a message to city council. “The agenda for this visit included a tour of the Alamodome and meetings with local business leaders.”
The Oakland Raiders have a lease that expires after the upcoming season, which would provide the right timing for a relocation. But San Antonio officials described the meeting only as preliminary.
“So we spent the weekend and took advantage of the opportunity to show him San Antonio in the event if it ever became necessary to consider a site other than Oakland,” said Henry Cisneros. “We know they have lease issues with Alameda County, so it was a good opportunity to show him facilities in San Antonio as well as have him meet key leaders in San Antonio.”
Some see the Oakland Raiders relocation talks as a bargaining tool to move forward on a new stadium. The Oakland Coliseum is aging and no longer able to keep up with the demands of both the Raiders and Oakland Athletics.
NFL commissioner Roger Goodell has even suggested that the Raiders could share the new Levi’s Stadium with cross-bay neighbors the San Francisco 49ers.
“Well, we have two pro teams in the Bay Area. Obviously, the stadium issue in Oakland’s going to have to be resolved, too. We believe a new stadium is appropriate for the Raiders,” Goodell said. “They have to make that determination whether they’re in a new stadium in Oakland or whether they feel that it’s best to join this stadium. We’re working on that, and that’s one of the decisions they’ll have to make.”
But whether the Oakland Raiders relocation talks are genuine or not, they have caused quite a bit of worry among the team’s fans. After reports broke on Tuesday, many of them took to message boards and social media to speak out against the potential move.