Benson v Louisiana makes us Losers
So, all this wrangling about who gets to take all the chips off the table has gotten us into this situation:
- One playoff victory in 38 years
- Four playoff appearances in 38 years
- One playoff appearance in 10 years
- Mediocre record over past 5 years
- Averaged only 1 Nationally televised game over last 5 years
- Consistant and regular threats to relocate
- No long firm long term lease in place
- Largest state funded subsidy to any professional team
- One of the oldest facilities in the NFL, and yet, still competitive
- Top 10 highest average ticket prices (including "seat license")
- Bottom 10 poorest state in terms of wages earned
- 1 Fortune 500 company
- Petroleum tax as one of the state's most significant revenue streams.
- A stadium that is "un-named" (given the price, are we surprised?)
- Lowest season ticket sales in 25 years (23,000)
- Declining tax base
- No host to the Super Bowl until at least 2012
- An owner who refuses to negotiate and has cut most business ties to the state
- 3 nationally televised games for 2005 (that could be bumped for a better matchup)
- A team not picked to make the playoffs for the 5th consecutive year
- Schools that suck
- Roads that suck
- Aging and welfare classes that are growing.
I'm not an expert here, but the picture is dismal. I hope that I haven't missed any salient point that would make this either better or worse. No corporate sponsor would be willing to make the kind of expenditures on a Stadium name given the limited exposure over the next 8 years, much less regional exposure for an inconsistent team with limited possibilities for post season exposure. Fan base is eroding due to the perceived naked greed and disloyalty by the owner, as evidenced by the lower ticket sales. Without sellouts, local telecasts will be blacked out, reducing marketing opportunities even further. It would not be too much of a stretch to assume that merchandising will be significantly lower this year, as will concessions and parking. A fortune 500 company looking to relocate to Louisiana would only need to watch the current tragicomedy to remind him/her that FL/CA/NY/NJ/TX are the best places to be.
I can't help but wonder whether this mess was a long term project by Mr. Benson to castrate the state of Louisiana and kill the local economy so that he could make the argument that New Orleans isn't a viable sports geography. This is a self fulfilling prophecy. All Benson has to do is make it more attractive to be in NO/LA and he winds up a huge winner. He's picked up all his marbles and is trying to get everyone else's. I guess "investment" is a four letter word that our glorious sensors will star out.
I'm a New Orleanian despite not living there. I am proud of my City and State and it is painful to watch the slow death caused by inept and greedy politicians trying to outplay a greedy and manipulative owner. I don't think this will turn out well, but I'm almost of a mind that if the Saints do relocate, it may turn out to be the best thing that could have happened to the City. Some of the monies could be used to address a crumbling infrastructure and tax incentives for a real company to relocate.
"Give'm a crummy product, charge'm a premium, then scoot out of town before they catch you for the warranty"
xan, you can type that up, and send it to both sides. Nice job.
RE: Benson v Louisiana makes us Losers
Wow. Great post. I just heard about the season ticket sales myself. I think they've sold 23,000 or something like that. Last year at this time they were over 40,000 or some crazy number (don't quote those stats).
You're right Xan. Benson looks to be hurting himself simply by his comments. He claimed not to be able to make any money when he was making it hand over fist. As a result, it looks like the team really might not make any money. He has disenfranchised his fan base. That article (by Finney of the TP I think) hit the nail on the head. Jim Finks would never have allowed this to happen. Public support for the Saints has never been lower in LA. That makes it real easy for Blanco to stand firm on her offer and make Benson swallow it.... or leave.
Of course, it's looking really hard for Benson to leave. I doubt he'll get a better offer anywhere, and as many people have said, there's no way that LA is going to accept this team. They need a winner with some serious stars and fire power. Until the stadium deal, I thought Indy really might get moved. Now I don't know, but I think Tagliabue is too smart to move this team to LA... at least, not without a change in ownership, Brand, and entire front office staff. That is possible I guess.
My hope is that the Saints have a tremendous season. Both sides need it. Benson should be scared by the reaction he's received during these negotiations, and hopefully will try to strike a deal after a good year when public opinion is more favorable and lenient. Of course, if he's smart he'll try to save face by asking for just barely a little more than the State offered, take it, and shut the hell up for a few years. Likewise, after a good year, Blanco might not be in such a vice. She would be able to negotiaite, but could probably make Benson take the same basic deal that she's offered. Everyone is happy and we've got a winner in NO. That's the best thing I can think for this team. Another .500 season and things only get worse, IMO.
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