San Antonio Mayor Ron Nirenberg believes his city is next up for an NFL franchise.
“I said I think last year or the year before, I think San Antonio is an NFL city within 10 years, I still stand by that,” Nirenberg told KSAT. “And that is because of the evolution that’s happening within the National Football League, the fact that it too is becoming an international league, particularly with its sights on Latin America, and we know the role San Antonio plays in that. We are the seventh-largest city in the United States and we knock events out of the park.”
It’s true that San Antonio is the seventh-largest city in America and the biggest without an NFL team. But what matters more to the NFL is the size of the television market, and there are seven metropolitan areas with more TV households than San Antonio that don’t have NFL teams: Orlando, Sacramento, Portland, St. Louis, Raleigh-Durham, San Diego and Salt Lake City.
But Nirenberg is eager to prove that his city can make it work in the NFL, and he’s interested in hosting games at the Alamodome for any team that needs or wants to play games away from its usual home field, in an effort to show what San Antonio can provide.
“There is an opportunity, potentially, to play host to some games in the interim. And that I think is the experience we need to continue to have to show we are a 365-day-a-year NFL city potentially in the near future,” he said.
San Antonio has done that before, hosting three Saints games after New Orleans was devastated by Hurricane Katrina. At the moment, neither a franchise relocation nor an expansion team appears to be imminent. But Nirenberg wants the NFL to know San Antonio is available — and some owner may use that availability as leverage to get a better stadium deal in a team’s current location.