March 17, 2007
No more teams for San Antonio?
Will San Antonio ever get another major sports team? Right now, it's looking like the answer is No.
The prospects for San Antonio landing a second major-league professional sports franchise in the near future are so dim, local officials say, they have essentially abandoned the idea.
Michael Sculley, the county's consultant on the matter, said recent conversations with NFL and Major League Baseball executives indicate little interest in San Antonio as a relocation or expansion target. As a result, Sculley said he plans to advise county commissioners to drop the idea of using revenue from a proposed venue tax extension to fund pursuit of another team.
Sculley said commissioners should instead focus on proposals to use the tax to finance San Antonio River improvements and construction of a performing arts center and a youth sports complex.
"I'm trying to convince them, saying, 'You guys can become heroes in the public eye by not wasting money on a potential professional team,'" Sculley said in an interview at his Alamodome office.
I always have to remind myself that for a city of over a million people
, the San Antonio metropolitan area is not that big
. MSAs of its size generally have only one team to support; Charlotte, NC, is the exception to that.
"It's hard for me to fathom as a newcomer here why (San Antonio) has struggled with this for so long," Sculley said of the city's quest to land a second franchise. "As a newcomer, I'm going, 'Don't you think you've fought that battle long enough?'"
I figure at some point, another opportunity will arise. I think there will be another round of expansion in sports, maybe in the next 10-20 years. The new-stadium shakedown ploy has more or less run its course, so the next easy way for team owners to get free money is expansion fees. The big-but-not-humongous MSAs that have at most one team, like Portland, Las Vegas, and San Antonio, will exert some pressure on that front. I could be wrong, but I'll be more surprised to be wrong than right on this. We'll see. B and B
Posted by Charles Kuffner on March 17, 2007 to The great state of Texas
San Antonio really isn't that big. I was just there this week as we took the kids to Sea World and spent a couple days visiting friends. The 1.2 million population is really meaningless when comparing to other cities because most of San Antonio's MSA is inside the city whereas most other cities are mostly suburbs. Take Seattle, for example. According to wikipedia the current population is 578,000 but the metro area is nearly 4 million. In Seattle where I lived for many years it was my observation that the bulk of Seahawk and Mariner fans were suburbanites not city dwellers anyway. If you inspected the drivers licenses at the average pro game in Seattle I'd bet anything that a majority of fans are from outside the city proper and mostly from the working class suburbs.
What San Antonio should REALLY be embarrased about is that it doesn't have a serious university. They want a pro team? How about a university that ranks in the top-100 in the US in something? UTSA is an average nondescript commuter school but certainly not the sort of place that any serious researchers would go for graduate work. At least not yet. Trinity University is a pleasant liberal arts college but not a graduate research institute.
San Antonio already has a lot going for it. Make it a destination college town where top students from around the country want to come and study and that will change the place more than any pro team ever could.
You do know I'm a Trinity alum, right? :-)
We like to think of it as a bit more than that. I admit, it's not well known, and for sure SA is not a college town, but Trinity is a darned fine school.
How many PhDs does Trinity grant and how much research dollars does the school bring in?
Maybe I'm wrong but my impression was that it was more of a liberal arts college than PhD granting research university. In the past decades, a whole lot of liberal arts colleges have taken to renaming themselves as universities, but calling themselves that doesn't make it so. Another example is Southwestern University in Georgetown. A very respectable liberal arts college in its own right. But hardly a university. I don't know what's wrong with being a liberal arts college. Top schools like Swarthmore, Amherst, Oberlin, Williams, and my own alma matter Reed College don't mind the label.
In any event, my point wasn't to ding on Trinity. The only time I was ever there was for my wife's citizenship ceremony. It seemed like a pleasant place and the type of place I'd like to send my kids.
My larger point was that if San Antonio wanted to invest millions in making the city better perhaps they should stop focusing on entertainment (pro sports, amusement parks) and start focusing on making the city an education destination. The long-term payout will be much greater. And the immediate benefit to the residents of the city will be much much greater.