The parking lot of Sister’s Bar, located across East Cesár Chávez Boulevard from the Alamodome, was abuzz with California-themed music Saturday afternoon. A resounding “Raiders!” cheer would float into the city’s Eastside every few minutes from the 100 or so people gathered in front of the bar.
As rallies go, it was not a very big one.
Texas Raider Nation Booster Club members and football fans from at least seven different booster clubs gathered at Sister’s Bar to support the idea of the Oakland Raiders moving to San Antonio. The goal was to demonstrate the amount of support the team would have at the games and throughout the city.
Raiders owner Mark Davis, who is unhappy that Oakland has not built a new stadium for the team, has been meeting with city leaders from San Antonio, Las Vegas, and elsewhere after losing out on a possible move to Los Angeles. As the team’s lease expires in Oakland, Davis is looking for a new home for the team, hoping to find a city willing to welcome him with a new stadium or use the search to leverage a better deal back home. Some in San Antonio who have long sought an NFL franchise here are excited about the possibilities, while others are, to say the least, highly skeptical.
Civic and business leaders are said to be revamping a previously rejected offer to entice Davis to bring his team here, but who would pay the estimated $800 million to $1 billion cost of a new stadium has not been answered. Presumably, taxpayers would be asked to pay half of that sum. Presumably, voters would get to decide the matter at the polls.
The City’s leadership would have to answer a hard question: What is the opportunity cost of building a publicly funded stadium? What else could San Antonio do with that same sum of money to fuel its development and growth?
There have been unconfirmed Raiders that Davis has purchased property along I-35 North, although there is no evidence he had done more than look. A California man looking to make a quick buck has filed a trademark application for the name “San Antonio Raiders” just in case the team ventures here.
“My husband has been a fan of the Raiders ever since he was a little boy,” said Darkside of SA Booster Club Secretary Krissey Montamez. “It would be amazing if they came here.”
Most in attendance at the Saturday rally were San Antonio locals, born and raised, but a few traveled down from Austin, and others even further.
“I came over all the way from Mississippi just for this rally,” said South Mississippi Oakland Raider Fan Club President Ty Brown.
Those gathered at Sister’s Bar were excited about the potential of having a larger Raiders presence in the city. Most in San Antonio had others things to do on a warm and sunny January Sunday.
“The city of San Antonio would welcome the Raiders,” said fan Jonathan Sierra.
Would they? In a city of 1.4 million people, 100 Raider fans seemed like an underwhelming show of support.