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saintz08 09-22-2005 06:20 PM

Tagliabue's remarks irk San Antonio officials
Tagliabue's remarks irk San Antonio officials

By Mike Triplett
Staff writer

SAN ANTONIO – San Antonio officials took umbrage at some comments made by NFL commissioner Paul Tagliabue during an interview with The Times-Picayune on Monday, suggesting that the city is a “small market� by league standards.
In a front-page article in the San Antonio Express-News on Wednesday, Mayor Phil Hardberger said, “Our market is becoming larger every day. But I can understand that people that don’t live here, that live all the way across the United States, may not know that.
“The feeling the commissioner voiced, with due respect, is that of people who live a long way away and are not on the ground seeing what is happening here.�
Unlike some other city leaders, Hardberger has not been openly campaigning to bring the Saints here permanently.
But the mayor, like most every government and business leader in the community, is hoping to improve San Antonio’s reputation in the NFL’s eyes this season. The Saints will play three home games in the 65,000-seat Alamodome, beginning with an Oct. 2 date against the Buffalo Bills.
Even before those games were officially announced, corporate leaders rallied to offer sponsorships and buy suites and seats.
The general public followed suit when tickets went on sale last week, buying more than 50,000 tickets on the first day and more than 100,000 by week’s end.
According to the Saints, there are still roughly 19,000 tickets available for the Buffalo game, 7,000 for an Oct. 16 game against the Atlanta Falcons and 40,000 for a Dec. 24 game against the Detroit Lions.
However, Tagliabue’s concerns about San Antonio won’t likely be assuaged by ticket sales alone.
Although San Antonio ranks eighth in total population, the total metropolitan area ranks 30th. The all-important television market ranks 37th. And there are already NFL teams in Houston and Dallas.
One of the city’s counter-arguments is that nearby Austin, another growing area, should be counted as part of the San Antonio market.
Saints owner Tom Benson has longstanding business and personal ties to San Antonio, where he keeps a second home.
He has not announced any desire to move his team to Texas permanently. But he also has done nothing to quiet reports and speculation that he is interested in a move to San Antonio.
Still, even if that is Benson’s intention, Tagliabue made it clear that the Saints’ owner would meet with resistance.
When asked Monday if the three Saints games might offer San Antonio an opportunity to prove itself NFL-worthy, the commissioner said:
“Ever since we approved the move of the Raiders and the Rams, I’ve been saying that our goal is to get a team back to L.A., either through expansion or whatever, and we’re not going to be moving any teams into small markets. We’re going to be moving up in market size, not either down or flat. That’s our goal.
“So if – if – any teams are relocated in the future, the objective is going to be to concentrate them, put it this way, in markets that can really support them.�

D_it_up 09-22-2005 06:28 PM

RE: Tagliabue
I'm glad Tagliabue is really laying the hammer down on a possible Saints move to S.A., but this quote puzzled me:

“So if – if – any teams are relocated in the future, the objective is going to be to concentrate them, put it this way, in markets that can really support them.�
Does he know his NFL history of L.A.? They haven't supported TWO NFL franchises. Just keep the team in NOLA and everything will be just hunky-dorey.

CHACHING 09-22-2005 10:41 PM

RE: Tagliabue
I agree D...keep em in NOLA!

frankeefrank 09-23-2005 01:35 AM

RE: Tagliabue
Just food for thought...
But I have never heard Tags (himself) support an NFL franchise in LA/
Yes, he's said the NFL needs to encorporate a team in the nation's 2nd largest market, but he has never said "I want a team in LA."

Please help me if I am wrong

SapperSaint 09-23-2005 05:05 AM

RE: Tagliabue
I believe our boys will be staying in NO and with a new stadium built by the FED Govt. I agree with Ole Frankee and D it up (By the way good job on the article), L.A. has never supported any of their teams in the past and I don't think Tagli will either. He made his point fairly clear with some small holes.

D_it_up 09-24-2005 09:03 PM

RE: Tagliabue
Thanks for the props on the article, Sapper. I hope everyone else liked it as well. I was nervous about it, because I was losing my article writing "virginity" so to speak. lol

CheramieIII 09-24-2005 11:00 PM

RE: Tagliabue
The commisioner will be committing suicide by even suggesting in the next 2 or 3 years that the Saints should relocate to LA. Never happen now, but I am sorry to say it took some mass destruction to the state and city that I love very much.

jnormand 09-24-2005 11:07 PM

RE: Tagliabue
Agreed Cher. No friggin way the Comish is going to move the Saints to LA. The Saints will be stayin in NO. I really think it was a possibility before Katrina...not now though. Besides, if most of the owners and the comish hate Benson, they areen't about to do him any favors. If Benson would push it, they would tell to F*!k off.

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