It is no surprise that Oakland Raiders owner Mark Davis was recently in San Antonio. In fact, the teams's official website posted a photo of him there on July 20, along with former San Antonio mayor Henry Cisneros and former Raiders receiver Cliff Branch.
What is somewhat surprising is that it took so long -- nine days in the 24/7 news cycle supported by citizen journalists -- for this rumor/report to go viral: Are the Raiders looking to potentially move to the Alamo City?
Surely Davis had to know that by being in San Antonio, which already has a stadium that might be NFL-ready by 2015 in the Alamodome, it would cause waves of speculation, even if officially he was there to support one of his closest friends.
"I was in San Antonio to honor Cliff Branch on his induction into the PVILCA [Prairie View Interscholastic League Coaches Association] Hall of Fame,” Davis said in a team-released statement Tuesday afternoon.
“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.”
According to the report in the San Antonio Express-News, Davis “and two top lieutenants” met with several city officials about the “potential” of moving his team from Oakland to San Antonio. Among said officials: Cisneros, who was behind the Alamodome project as San Antonio mayor, mayor Julián Castro, city manager Sheryl Sculley, Mario Hernandez of the San Antonio Economic Development Foundation, and both Richard Perez and David McGee, the president and chairman of the San Antonio Chamber of Commerce, respectively, per the report. Davis also talked with San Antonio Spurs owner Peter Holt and Red McCombs, "who both showed interest in having a stake in the team if it were to move here,” according to the report.
The Raiders need a new stadium -- the current lease at O.co Coliseum expires at the conclusion of this upcoming season -- and had previously, in a roundabout way, been linked to San Antonio, Los Angeles and Portland, Oregon, as well as nearby Concord and Dublin in the East Bay.
According to the San Antonio Express-News, Davis took an aerial tour of the city by helicopter. The Alamodome would be considered a temporary home as it is 21 years old and Davis had repeatedly talked of building a stadium fit for the Raiders, its history, fans and his late father's legacy. In fact, the report said Davis wanted “a small, intimate” stadium in front of which he could place “a statue of his father” Al Davis.