New Orleans VooDoo
RAISING THE ROOF
The New Orleans VooDoo, which will debut in the Arena Football League in February 2004, will unveil its team colors and logo today to a community that apparently has already taken a liking to the sport based on local TV ratings
Tuesday May 13, 2003
By Darrell Williams
Tom Benson's New Orleans VooDoo will unveil its colors and logo at a 3 p.m. press conference today at New Orleans Arena, where the team will play its eight home games beginning in February 2004.
The logo, which was designed by the NFL's marketing department, features a skull in a top hat with bones beneath it tied to form the letter "V." The team's colors are purple, red and black. It is the second Arena team to play in the city. The Night played at the Superdome in 1991-92.
Arena League commissioner David Baker said the VooDoo's logo is a bit edgy, even for the Arena League, a fast-paced brand of football played on a 50-yard field in which fans are seated close to the field.
"I think it will be a popular logo," he said. "The name VooDoo is opposite Saints, but it's not devil. It's clever."
Mike Feder, the Saints' director of regional sales and marketing, is the team's executive director and will run the VooDoo's business side. A coach/general manager will run the football side and will be named by June 1.
The league, in its 17th season, will add at least one more franchise for next season, possibly more. Nashville, whose team was sold to a group in Atlanta last year, is getting a new team that will be owned by Tennessee Titans owner Bud Adams. Washington, D.C.; Columbus, Ohio; Boston, Philadelphia and St. Louis are in the running for franchises.
Already, New Orleans has shown signs it can be a VooDoo hotbed. The city has a 1.9 TV rating for Arena League games. That figure, which ranks 12th nationally, would place New Orleans fifth among cities with Arena League teams.
Baker is hoping the VooDoo will have the appeal of the Colorado Crush, an expansion team in Denver owned by Broncos owner Pat Bowlen, former Broncos quarterback John Elway and Stan Kroenke, who owns the Nuggets and the Pepsi Center where the games are played. The Crush had 11,000 season-ticket holders and sold out all eight of its home games.
Bowlen said having the Broncos is the key. The Crush benefited from Bowlen having a mailing list that includes 60,000 season-ticket holders.
"About a 10th of the Broncos' season-ticket holders bought Crush season tickets," he said. "Plus, it's a league that's affordable for most families."
High-end tickets for the VooDoo are expected to be $99. Most will cost $18-$20, with tickets in the 300 level at $6.
The Arena League signed a contract with NBC before this season that gives the broadcast company a partnership in the league. The league's players signed a similar deal before the season as part of a collective bargaining agreement.
There are 20 active players on each roster, and teams carry four-man reserve squads. The games are played by eight-man sides on offense and defense. There is a $1.6 million salary cap per team. Salaries are $1,500 per game for most players ($24,000 for a season), but many are paid as much as $100,000. One player -- Ironman Award winner Greg Hopkins -- makes $200,000 a season.
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