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TallySaint 09-28-2005 03:47 PM

San Antonio Embraces Saints, Hopes for NFL Team
Updated: Sep. 28, 2005, 4:03 PM ET

San Antonio embraces Saints, hopes for NFL team
Associated Press
National Football League News Wire

SAN ANTONIO -- The line snaked for a quarter mile.

Thousands of football-starved fans were jumping at the chance to buy tickets to see the New Orleans Saints -- and for a chance to show how the nation's eighth-largest city can support an NFL team.

The mayor and business leaders are trying to rally the city to support the Saints, who were forced here when Hurricane Katrina swamped their home city, and prove San Antonio is a major market worthy of the country's No. 1 sport.

"It's unfortunate that it took these circumstance to get these games over here, but it will show San Antonio is ready for a team," said Red McCombs, a San Antonio resident and former owner of the Spurs and the Minnesota Vikings. He's also a longtime friend of Saints owner Tom Benson, who has business and personal ties to San Antonio.

The NFL placed the Saints here for three games at the Alamodome this season, starting with Sunday's matchup with the Buffalo Bills. The Saints will also play four games in Baton Rouge, La.

Little by little, the Alamodome is getting dressed up for the Saints. Team offices occupy much of the space of the lower levels and giants "SAINTS" signs decorate the outside.

"The way we've been treated here so far, knowing that we're going through some things, it's been phenomenal," said Saints wide receiver Joe Horn.

Yet the enthusiastic support doesn't mean it will become the Saints' permanent home or even put San Antonio in position should the Saints or some other team relocate.

Questions remain as to whether this city is too poor and too small for a league that still casts a hopeful eye toward placing a team in a larger markets, particularly Los Angeles.

City leaders are dancing a fine line of wanting to support the Saints while not wanting to appear as if they hope to cash on in New Orleans' misfortune.

"It's improper to talk about trying to bring the team here. New Orleans is a city flat on its back," said Henry Cisneros, a former San Antonio mayor and Clinton administration appointee who remains a prominent city voice. "Then the best way we can show we deserve a team of our own no matter what is to fill the Alamodome three times."

Although the city sold about 50,000 tickets for the three Saints games that first day, as of Wednesday, more than 14,000 were available for Sunday's game. If the game isn't a sellout, the NFL could institute a local television blackout.

Story continues...


TallySaint 09-28-2005 04:06 PM

City reiterates goal to fill Dome

Tom Orsborn - Express-News Staff Writer - Sept. 28

With 14,200 tickets left for Sunday's New Orleans Saints-Buffalo Bills game at the Alamodome, city leaders Tuesday implored fans and the corporate community to help sell out an event they say the NFL will use to gauge San Antonio's ability to support a team.

Speaking at a news conference hastily organized by the Greater San Antonio Chamber of Commerce, a who's-who of local politicians reiterated their belief that the chances of the NFL recognizing San Antonio as a viable market depend on the volume of tickets sold for Sunday's game and two other contests the displaced Saints will play at the 65,000-seat Alamodome.

"Now is our chance on the national stage to prove to everybody, including (NFL commissioner Paul Tagliabue), we are ready to take that step to the next level, and it all starts with a sellout Sunday," said City Councilman Chip Haass, who was joined at the podium by fellow councilmen Art Hall, Richard Perez and Kevin Wolff.

County Judge Nelson Wolff, a high-ranking official from Valero Energy Corp. and a representative of the San Antonio Hispanic Chamber of Commerce delivered similar messages.

"The commissioner threw down the gauntlet, saying San Antonio wasn't ready for prime time," said Jim Greenwood, Valero's vice president of governmental affairs. "We want to send a message to Tagliabue and to the whole NFL that San Antonio is ready (for a team)."

Greenwood challenged other businesses to buy tickets and sponsorship packages from the Saints.

"Some of them have stepped up and bought sponsorships, but there are many more out there that haven't," Greenwood said. "It's time for you all to call the Saints and buy your block of tickets."

Although there are indications that the NFL's television blackout deadline is flexible and could even be suspended for Saints' games in San Antonio, Greenwood and others at the news conference made it clear the city's goal is to sell out Sunday's game by noon Thursday.

Story continues...


AFSGT 09-28-2005 05:09 PM

If the game was in New Orleans or Baton Rouge, you can bet it would be sold out already.

xan 09-28-2005 10:38 PM

There are a lot of cities more deserving than San Antonio who won't get an NFL franchise. Tagliabue has already gone on the record about why they won't get one. There might be an act of Congress enacted to keep the NFL and Benson from sliming the Saints out of NO in the aftermath of the catastrophe. Talk about the United Way (United Vans Way). Let's help the unfortunate unless it happens to be in a city that we have a franchise.

sc-saint 09-30-2005 12:41 PM

This is my take on the upcoming game...regardless whether the stadium if filled or not, I believe the place will be a madhouse and we will get fan support like we haven't seen in years. Now I'm not knocking our LA fans in the dome--but how many times has the Dome "really" been rocking? Since the hay day of Jim Morra's awesome defense maybe. I've seen our fans start to boo AB and company way too early in games and completely give up. Do you think this happens in Green Bay when Farve has a bad game or throws 3 interceptions? I do realize I may be comparing apples to oranges but fans need to appreciate and support thier team good or bad. The 12th man is an awesome advantage in a game--and I think thats why we haven't been so great at home. We have to have a lot of emotion at home games to totally disrupt the opposing team. If we get any resemblance of this in the Bills game--I think it will be huge. But thats my take...

Tobias-Reiper 09-30-2005 01:17 PM

San Antonio is the 8th largest city in the U.S.?!?!?!? ..anyway.. The Saints will not be moving to S.A. When they go, they'll go to L.A.

xan 09-30-2005 04:24 PM

It's the 8th largest when one includes its major suburb, Mexico.

spkb25 09-30-2005 05:37 PM

first of all the saints aren't headed anywehre except 4-12.
xan thats funny

Tobias-Reiper 09-30-2005 08:11 PM


Originally Posted by xan
It's the 8th largest when one includes its major suburb, Mexico.

:banana: :broccoli: :monkey:

...made me spit my Pepsi on my keyboard...

saintswhodi 10-01-2005 01:26 PM


Originally Posted by xan
It's the 8th largest when one includes its major suburb, Mexico.

Are you saying Mexicans don't have money to spend on a football game? :wink:

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