San Antonio is many things, but a Major League Baseball or NFL city is isn’t, and won’t be any time soon.
Those are the findings of California-based Premier Partnerships, which recently submitted the results of a six-month feasibility study commissioned by Bexar County and San Antonio to determine the viability of professional sports in the area.
The company, which describes itself as a sales and marketing firm that focuses on “revenue optimization” of sports initiatives, found that San Antonio, while hungry to pursue heavyweight leagues, is lacking in corporate sponsorship dollars and infrastructure.
The $50,000 report, which runs more than 250 pages, concludes the city “should continue to build its sports landscape and take a ‘wait and see’ approach with larger professional leagues.”
The study shows San Antonio lags behind major sports markets in critical areas.
For example, it found the average NFL host metropolitan area includes 18 Fortune 500 companies, ranks 18th as a media market and has a $53,800 median household income. The San Antonio region, in comparison, has six Fortune 500 companies, ranks 37th as a media market and has a $48,000 median income.
Major League Baseball host areas average 17 Fortune 500 companies, average 13th as a media market and have a $71,800 median household income.
“Clearly, the matrix of this (study) shows that it would be difficult to get it,” said County Judge Nelson Wolff, a longtime proponent of luring big-league baseball to San Antonio. “Instead of us talking about getting something in Major League Baseball or the NFL, it makes more sense to look into the future a little more. In 10 or 20 years, what might be available then?”
Fortune 500 companies are useful for buying up luxury suites, which is where the real money comes from, but the overall population is important, too. As we’ve seen before, even as the city of San Antonio has grown, the San Antonio MSA – excuse me, the San Antonio-New Braunfels MSA – still lags behind most of the existing ones with MLB and/or NFL teams. As a media market, San Antonio is only #31; Dallas is #5, and Houston is #6, and most other major league cities are in bigger markets. Put it all together, and I think Judge Wolff has the right idea.