Raiders owner Mark Davis met with officials from the city of San Antonio on the weekend of July 18. He acknowledged that fact in a phonecall with CSN Bay Area on Tuesday afternoon.
In a memo to the San Antonio City Council, originally obtained by the San Antonio Express-News, city manager Sheryl Sculley indicates that Davis expressed interest in the possibility of moving the Raiders to the Lone Star state.
Davis said he travelled to San Antonio to support goodfriend and former Raiders receiver Cliff Branch, who was inducted into the Prairie View Interscholastic League Coaches Association Hall of Fame.
Former San Antonio mayor Henry Cisneros, whom Davis has known for some time, suggested he meet with city officials while he was in town.
Davis later acknowledged that in a statement released by the team.
"I was in San Antonio to honor Cliff Branch on his induction into the PVILCA. Former San Antonio Mayor Henry Cisneros is a friend, and Henry suggested I take the opportunity to meet with some of the city officials while we were in town. I have nothing further to discuss on the topic."
The Express-News, which first reported the story linking the Raiders to San Antonio, obtained a copy of Sculley’s memo, which discusses details of the meeting.
“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. “The agenda for this visit included a tour of the Alamodome and meetings with local business leaders.”
The daily newspaper reports that the Alamodome could be ready to host an NFL by the 2015 season and used as a temporary playing site until a new facility is built.
The Raiders’ lease with O.co Coliseum expires at season’s end, allowing the Raiders to move without penalty.
Davis has time and again expressed a desire to stay in the East Bay. He’s currently involved in discussions regarding a project called Coliseum City, an imaginative development that would build a new football stadium on the current Coliseum site.
Davis has openly discussed his frustrations with the snail’s pace of deliberations, especially in recent months. The Oakland Athletics baseball team recently agreed to a 10-year lease extension – albeit, with several out clauses – that would hinder the pace of progress. The development team in charge of the Raiders stadium project see the A’s lease as a roadblock and unsuccessfully urged local politicians to reject the terms.
The extent of Davis’ interest in the San Antonio market is unknown. The city as been used as leverage before, and it could be happening again with the Raiders.
Davis told CSN Bay Area in March that he was committed to stay in Oakland, but had thought about other options if stadium talks in Oakland continued remained stagnant.