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Nirenberg: Give me a reason why San Antonio should not host the NFL Draft

San Antonio mayor Ron Nirenberg celebrates winning second term as mayor. Photo courtesy of Javier Fernandez

SAN ANTONIO (KTSA News) — San Antonio mayor Ron Nirenberg believes the Alamo City is ready for some NFL action.

More specifically, NFL Draft action.

“This city needs to host the NFL Draft,” Nirenberg told ESPN San Antonio Friday afternoon.  “I think San Antonio is ready-made for that.  I think our fan base would love it, we’re a destination city that people would love to come to for that.”

He highlighted the success the city had in hosting the San Antonio Commanders of the Alliance of American Football.  The team had by far the best attendance figures, drawing over 27,000 fans to its four home games in its abbreviated season.

The mayor said the city’s performance with the AAF made a statement to the rest of the professional sports industry.

“We showed that the Alamodome is a pro football caliber, capable and ready to run stadium — immediately.  It’s state-of-the-art.  It’s been upgraded significantly by our public over the last five years.  New scoreboards, new audio, new seating, new field and all of that,” Nirenberg stated.  “We showed we can drive attendance. In fact, we doubled the attendance estimates and all of the top attendance of the rest of the league, just here in San Antonio.  With a quality product, with a league that’s willing to make investments, San Antonio can show itself as a major league city immediately for the NFL.”

This year will see the debut of another AAF-like league, the XFL, which is more focused on existing NFL cities.

Nirenberg said there is a chance the XFL could expand to San Antonio, should it not fold midway through its debut season.

“I know San Antonio has been discussed as a possible expansion site for the XFL and I think that expansion is something we would have to talk about,” the mayor explained, with some significant caveats before it makes another commitment to these non-NFL football leagues.  “We certainly want to see a startup league like the XFL show a trail of success before we get too heavily invested in it.  This is all steps in the direction of us eventually becoming an NFL city, which I believe very strongly in.”

As for becoming an NFL city, Nirenberg believes the time is right start forging that relationship with the league.

That, he said, would start with hosting the NFL Draft.

“It would have the same kind of atmosphere as the [NCAA] Final Four,” explained Nirenberg.  “You’re in the heart of Texas, which is football country.  A lot of the folks that are walking across that stage now are actually prospects that come out of our high schools in the central and south Texas area.  You’ve got fan bases from Houston, Dallas and all corners of the country coming to descend on one of the best places to be in the entire country in April.  Give me a reason why we shouldn’t host it?”

As of now, it has just been chatter between city hall and the league.

“Not a formal proposal yet, I’ve had some conversations about it,” the city’s top elected politician stated.  “We are working towards making ourselves a presence within the NFL executives’ discussion about the future of the league.”

Along with the NFL hype, Nirenberg announced the nation’s top high school football players will continue to be showcased in the Alamodome.

“We signed an agreement with NBC Sports to continue the new era of the All-American Bowl for another four years and we’re looking at more than that.”

And progress on a new San Antonio Missions stadium?

“I know they are working on a future stadium plan.  I’m waiting to hear that proposal.”

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