With its lease in Oakland running out after this season, the Raiders franchise is quietly exploring relocation to other cities.

San Antonio is one of them. And the Raiders' interest is very much reciprocated -- so much so that the city is going halfsies on a $50,000 bill for an expansive fan survey.

According to News Radio 1200 WOAI, the Raiders and San Antonio are mailing out surveys to city residents to gauge the local interest and support in moving the NFL franchise.

The questions cover a number of points, including whether fans would generally support such a move, whether they would be interested in purchasing season tickets, and what price levels they would be comfortable paying.

The paid survey follows a summer visit to San Antonio from Raiders owner Mark Davis, who was scouting out the city as a possible new home for the team.

The fact that San Antonio is sinking its own money into a potential move is significant, although it's not the first time the Raiders have been courted financially.

In reality, the city's $25,000 investment in survey distribution is pennies compared to the $10 million "deposit" paid to the Raiders in 1987 by the hopeful California city of Irwindale.

Back then, Irwindale was a small community pocked with rock quarries. When rumors started flying that the Raiders were going to leave L.A., Irwindale had handed over a $10 million check to then-owner Al Davis. It was going to be an unprecedented acquisition, with a rumored deal in place that would give free season tickets to all of the city's 1,100 residents.

But a mess of lawsuits and political quarrels brought Irwindale's dream to a grinding halt. The worst of it was, their $10 million deposit was nonrefundable.

Add to that bill an extra $10 million the city spent on various studies and legal fees, and you have a $20 million cautionary tale for any city trying to bring in an existing sports franchise.

Twenty-seven years later, however, the sports market has changed drastically. All too often, sports franchises are used as leverage to force cities into using public funds to build new stadiums and arenas.

San Antonio has probably heard of Irwindale, but it also has to realize that a potential Raiders move isn't permanent -- it's just the best option at that time.

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