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this is a discussion within the Saints Community Forum; Interesting article on Benson and the Saints: Take the Money and Stay By JOSEPH NOCERA Published: February 5, 2006 Last May, three and a half months before Hurricane Katrina devastated New Orleans, a San Antonio lawyer named Stanley Rosenberg told ...

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Old 02-06-2006, 07:39 PM   #1
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If you build it he will come?

Interesting article on Benson and the Saints:

Take the Money and Stay

By JOSEPH NOCERA
Published: February 5, 2006
Last May, three and a half months before Hurricane Katrina devastated New Orleans, a San Antonio lawyer named Stanley Rosenberg told a local reporter that the New Orleans Saints might be contemplating a move to San Antonio. This was no idle chatter, as the reporter well knew. One of Rosenberg's longtime clients is Tom Benson, who has owned the team since 1985. Although a New Orleans native, Benson has deep roots in San Antonio, where his car dealerships have helped make him wealthy. Benson also owns a ranch, said to be his favorite place in the world, just north of the city.

A magazine that presents the big, rich human stories that emerge from the world of sports. For years, there have been rumblings that Benson, 78, might be looking to move the Saints to San Antonio. Economically, San Antonio and New Orleans have seemed for some time to be going in opposite directions. With a population of 1.2 million, San Antonio is a city on the rise, with a growing business community and a sense, in the words of the local writer Jan Jarboe Russell, "that it has finally caught up to the rest of Texas and is getting rich."

New Orleans, meanwhile, was a small market getting smaller, with a declining urban population that had fallen below 500,000. It has been years since the Saints sold out the 137 luxury boxes in the Louisiana Superdome, and boxes are a key revenue source for most National Football League teams. Although Benson has perhaps the sweetest lease deal in all of football — the Saints pay less than $1 million rent for the Superdome, pocket every penny from concessions and parking, and receive a stunning cash payment from the state of Louisiana that averages about $18 million a year — he was unhappy with the 30-year-old stadium and had been trying for several years to persuade the state to build him a new one. What's more, the Saints' lease agreement with Louisiana had an "out" clause, allowing the team to walk away from the Superdome — and New Orleans — after the 2005 season, as long as Benson repaid the $81 million the state had already given him.

http://www.nytimes.com/2006/02/05/ma...in&oref=slogin

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