Wednesday, March 29, 2006

More bait for the Marlins

Now this is interesting. During San Antonio's flirtation with the New Orleans Saints last year, Bexar County officials commissioned a long-term economic study to quantify assertations that the region could support two professional sports franchises, ie the Spurs of the NBA and Team X of the NFL. Turns out the recently completed study was more positive than anyone expected:
The study found population in the region should increase to 4.92 million by 2015 from an estimated 3.99 million this year, or 2.3 percent a year.

The number of jobs is forecast to increase 2.8 percent annually to nearly 2.2 million, up from 1.7 million this year.

Total personal income could increase 7.2 percent annually to $238.9 billion from an estimated $128 billion this year.

Hockenyos' report says recent growth in the regional economy, mostly along the Interstate 35 corridor from San Antonio to Austin, has led to 478,000 net new jobs, or 3 percent above the previous year.

In contrast, national employment grew 1.5 percent.

"Growing appeal of the region as a site for expansion and relocation of both people and firms helps San Antonio/I-35 consistently perform 'above the line' relative to the U.S. as a whole," the report said.

San Antonio's "economic roll" includes the new Toyota manufacturing plant and suppliers, the selection of Fort Sam Houston as the new headquarters of U.S. Army South and new high school work force academies that help produce skilled workers.

The long and short of it is that San Antonio's economic base is growing far more rapidly than it ever has. No only do the numbers indicate the region (which includes Laredo on the border and tech-savvy Austin to the north) could easily support a second franchise today, but they also seem to point to the economic ability of San Antonio to host a third professional team ten years down the line. If projections play out as expected, of course.

This is an interesting bit of news for everyone to chew over. There's a faction that is opposed to pursuing the Marlins, because they view the acquisition of a Major League Baseball franchise as automatically precluding the addition of an NFL team. But this study shows they're not mutually exclusive. San Antonio can literally have it's cake and eat it too. Cool.

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