With a possible extension of San Antonio's tourism taxes to build a Major League Baseball stadium, the options left to finance city leaders' dreams of an NFL team are dwindling.
There's only one-eighth of a cent left under the cap for sales taxes — revenue that could go for library improvement or crime prevention instead of artificial turf and luxury suites.
And the tax options left under 1997 sports venue financing legislation are unpopular options with sports team owners and are unlikely to generate the hundreds of millions of dollars needed to bring football here.
And, if you want to get into the nuts and bolts of it:
The original bond debt for the AT&T Center could be retired by 2012 instead of the contractual 2022, according to the latest projections. But there is still more than $100 million in principal to pay, and adding an estimated $240 million for the baseball stadium and improvements around the arena to that number could mean tourists would be paying the taxes another 20 to 30 years, according to David Smith, budget officer for Bexar County.
That debt could stifle future public money options for a stadium should the city get another chance at luring an NFL team.
So essentially we're looking at a situation where the city and county have enough potential revenue from the tourist trade to build one stadium without socking it to locals, but not two. Even though the locals could support both.
Logically, there's the Alamodome which could play host to an NFL team, but the Alamodome was built just before luxury suites became a major revenue stream for teams, and has very few of those money generators. The Alamodome is a great stadium to see a game in, and I don't think a new stadium should be built to replace it. But extensive rennovations are needed to bring it up to "modern" NFL standards, rennovations which would cost $100 million or so. That's not as much as building an entirely new stadium, but again, that money's not going to be there if a new baseball stadium goes up. And San Antonio still doesn't have a commitment from any team or league for relocation or expansion.
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