Centro San Antonio, a nonprofit devoted to downtown San Antonio development and events, will fund a study to determine the feasibility of a new facility that could be home to the San Antonio Missions (Class AA; Texas League).
The study, from longtime sports consulting firm Brailsford & Dunlavey, will determine whether a ballpark would work, its potential economic impact, and potential funding mechanisms. There’s been talk about a new downtown ballpark for years, as some city leaders (including Judge Nelson Wolff) want to replace Wolff Stadium with something newer and nicer, and perhaps upgrade the team’s level to Triple-A. (That’s a whole other issue, apart from the new ballpark economics.) Recently University of Texas at San Antonio floated the possibility of sharing a new downtown ballpark with a pro team. And while most of this talk has not led to anything concrete, a Brailsford & Dunlavey study would at least provide something solid for proponents to pass around. From the San Antonio Business Journal:
“We are ready to embark on a study for a downtown ballpark. We are in the process of finalizing the contract with the consultant,” Centro San Antonio President and CEO Pat DiGiovanni said….
“We are starting to have a real conversation about a downtown stadium,” DiGiovanni said. “This study is an important element in how we proceed.”
The path to a new downtown ballpark is riddled with potential landmines. First, the San Antonio Spurs (NBA) must sign off on any new facility: the team’s lease at AT&T Center says Bexar County cannot “own, manage, operate, control, finance, sponsor (or) develop” any sporting facility between 5,000 and 30,000 seats. So, unless there’s some level of participation or sign-off from the Spurs, Bexar County is limited in its financial options, and the city must carry the load if bonds are to be issued for any new project. Then there’s the issue of the Missions and whether ownership actually wants a new ballpark. Centro San Antonio‘s model is Charlotte’s BB&T Ballpark — and that project got done after the Knights made a serious commitment to ballpark funding.
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