We won’t see a San Antonio MLS lawsuit over what Bexar County Judge Nelson Wolff called a “unfair, unethical, and duplicitous” process, as Spurs Sports & Entertainment had requested the league not consider its application for the upcoming 2017 expansion round.
Spurs Sports & Entertainment, owners of the NBA’s San Antonio Spurs and USL’s San Antonio FC, had worked with Bexar County on a purchase of Toyota Field and a roadmap toward landing an MLS expansion team. Earlier this year, however, Columbus Crew owner Anthony Precourt had begun exploring a move of his team to Austin, and MLS officials warned San Antonio interests that the league would not approve a San Antonio expansion bid if the Austin move was successful. That didn’t please San Antonio elected officials, who argued they were mislead into investing in Toyota Field. But when Spurs Sports & Entertainment put a hold on the San Antonio expansion process, the MLS expansion effort was iced — and so was any potential San Antonio and Bexar County claims. From the San Antonio Express-News:
“MLS’s misleading inducements and secret contractual provisions in the Columbus Crew 2013 purchase agreement do not justify a legal cause of action at this time because Bexar County’s application partner withdrew from consideration and because San Antonio could obtain a franchise in a subsequent expansion round,” he wrote. “We will revisit the strength of Bexar County’s claims if a subsequent expansion round is conducted.”
Wolff had also requested that District Attorney Nicholas “Nico” LaHood determine whether the league committed any crimes in its actions.
“I want to thank the District Attorney’s office and Watts Guerra law firm for the comprehensive report,” Wolff said in a statement released to the media. “The investigation found that the MLS process was unfair, unethical, and duplicitous, but that Bexar County does not have a legal cause of action at this time because the Spurs withdrew their MLS application. I accept the report and its conclusions.”
With Precourt pursuing a new Austin stadium and a second potential Austin stadium in the planning stages, it looks like there is the clear chance San Antonio could lose out on MLS expansion. But things can change fast, and a Columbus move to Austin is far from a done deal.
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