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San Antonio Takes the NFL for a Test Spin

The city of San Antonio, Texas, has opened up its Alamo Dome to the New Orleans Saints (membership req'd).

The New Orleans Saints will head back to their home state for four games at Tiger Stadium in Baton Rouge, La., and will play three others in San Antonio's Alamodome, their headquarters since being displaced by Hurricane Katrina.

While I doubt that NFL proponents from San Antonio are trying to lure the Saints there, there is little doubt that San Antonio officials are going to show NFL officials what their town has to offer as an NFL host city. From the Sports Business Journal ($$$ req'd):

In San Antonio, David Flores notes the city “made a pitch to join the NFL” in ’93; the league added Charlotte and Jacksonville as expansion markets in ’95. Former San Antonio Mayor Nelson Wolff said that the city “is much better off economically than it was then,” citing the city’s Toyota plant, a Washington Mutual regional operations center and the TPC golf complex. Former San Antonio Mayor and former U.S. Secretary of Housing & Urban Development Henry Cisneros said of this season’s Saints games, “I think we’ll fill [the Alamodome] up” (SAN ANTONIO EXPRESS-NEWS, 9/13). Regarding the prospect of San Antonio becoming a future NFL market, Hardberger said the three games in San Antonio “could lead to something bigger, but first we have to ... make sure we sell out these games.” Cisneros said, “It ought not be judged as a lead-in to getting an NFL team. But it is an opportunity for us to show we are a bona fide NFL city.”

The SBJ article goes on to say that going after the Saints would be a public relations nightmare. But having an opportunity to give NFL officials a test drive is a unique opportunity for football proponents in San Antone.