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saintz08 05-14-2004 04:04 PM

Here come the Los Angeles rumors....
While it's true that Tom Benson hasn't religiously lived up to the nickname of the franchise under his stewardship, the Saints owner has remained steadfastly loyal to New Orleans, even when city and state politicians weren't especially fair to him. But one has to wonder, in the wake of a Thursday announcement that the state is $10 million shy on a $15 million payment due the franchise on July 1, how much longer Benson can maintain his loyalty to the area. The payment is part of a $186 million deal struck in 2001 to keep the Saints in Louisiana, but state officials say the shortfall is the result of not meeting anticipated tax levels, in part because of a drop in tourism following the terrorist events of Sept. 11, 2001. In addition, naming rights to the Louisiana Superdome, projected to be worth $3 million annually, have not been sold. Under the agreement, the state paid the Saints $12.5 million in 2003 but, even then, there was a $3 million shortage that had to be made up by SMG, the private company that managed the Superdome. The company will not, officials said, help compensate for this year's shortage. Craig Gannuch, a budget analyst for the state, acknowledged the only options are to default on the payment or to renegotiate the deal. League sources indicated the Saints, weary of dealing with the state, is unlikely to rework the contract. If the state defaults, it opens up all sorts of possibilities, not the least of which is potential relocation of the franchise. The Los Angeles market remains unfilled, of course, and the Saints have long been rumored as a candidate to move there. No one is suggesting, at least not yet, that Benson and point man Arnold Fielkow have local moving van companies on speed dial. But the events of this week, which didn't get much media play outside Louisiana, certainly bear watching.

CheramieIII 05-16-2004 12:18 PM

Here come the Los Angeles rumors....
The State of Lousiana would stand to lose alot of revenue if the Saints left and with the rumors flying that the Hornets might leave too, I bet we find a way to pay Benson the money.

GumboBC 05-16-2004 12:32 PM

Here come the Los Angeles rumors....


The State of Lousiana would stand to lose alot of revenue if the Saints left and with the rumors flying that the Hornets might leave too, I bet we find a way to pay Benson the money.
Welcome to the board, CheramieIII.

Honestly, I don\'t know what\'s gonna come out of the situation with the state of Louisiana and the Saints. It is troubling. One thing I\'ve learned is ANYTHING can happen.

When you consider Benson doesn\'t have the revenue that he could get in some larger markets and the fact that he\'s getting up there in age, then he does have some incentive to move the team.

He\'s not getting anything on the \"naming rights\" to the super dome and really no cooperate support to speak of. If he sold the team, he would probably better much better off financially.

I do agree that it would be foolish for the state of Louisiana to not pay the money. They would really be hurting themselves.

Euphoria 05-16-2004 12:40 PM

Here come the Los Angeles rumors....
I still don\'t think Benson is moving the team. To many ties to New Orleans... he would have to move everything undercover of night. Take the Saints out of New Orleans he better get family out first and then the voodoo as well. I don\'t blame a buisnessman for trying to make a buck at all. The state will have to honor there end of the deal or he\'ll take it to court for his money, him breaking the contract and moving... unlikely.

WhoDat 05-17-2004 11:18 AM

Here come the Los Angeles rumors....
The major problem here is that you\'ve got a poor state that basically has no local business other than tourism, some natural resources, and the port of New Orleans. The residents are poor. The economy is non-existent. Without tourism money, there is nowhere else to get that money. Moving to LA is a bad move for Benson, he\'ll move again within a decade - but moving to San Antonio or Portland or a small emerging market would probably be wise. If the state defaults, I think it is going to take a new stadium deal to keep Benson in LA for more than the next few years. The loan money was nothing more than a stop-gap measure anyway. If the state can\'t even live up to its end of the deal on that then if I\'m Benson, I\'m looking at real estate in other markets.

no_cloning 05-17-2004 12:54 PM

Here come the Los Angeles rumors....
Benson is 76 years old with too many ties to New Orleans. As long as he runs this organization I don\'t worry about a move out of town.
When he turns over the control of the team to his granddaughter, who has more roots in Texas - that\'s when the negotiations with the state are really going to get tough. If at that time (maybe 4-5 years from now) the Saints are losing money and the State can\'t come up with the money, this team may be named the San Antonio Saints sooner than you think.

Benson as the captain of this ship is the guarantee the Saints stay in New Orleans - and that is the main reason why I\'m not high on the whole \"Bash Benson\" thing.

WhoDat 05-17-2004 01:56 PM

Here come the Los Angeles rumors....
Out of curiosity.... what roots? Benson made most of his money in dealerships in Texas - he doesn\'t own many in NO anymore. His family is in Texas, I think he still has a house there. So what roots are in NO? I\'m not trying to be a smarta$$, I\'m serious. What are his NO ties right now?

saintfan 05-17-2004 03:41 PM

Here come the Los Angeles rumors....
Unfortunately, Whodat is right. About the only thing Benson has tying him to NO is the Saints. I do think a move is unlikely right now, and I agree it\'s when he passes the torch that things might get interesting. I just hold out hope (I\'m known for that you know) that the State will work something out. It\'s in their best interests to keep the team!

saintz08 05-17-2004 05:46 PM

Here come the Los Angeles rumors....
If Blanco drops the ball I got one name .


SaintNik 05-17-2004 07:00 PM

Here come the Los Angeles rumors....

Born here.

Owns a home here.

Has relatives here.

Naturally N\'awlins.

Will die here.


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