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spkb25 06-05-2005 02:12 PM

COMMISH GETTING INVOLVED. MIGHT BE GOOD
 
NEW ORLEANS (AP) — NFL commissioner Paul Tagliabue says he plans to talk with New Orleans Saints owner Tom Benson and then Gov. Kathleen Blanco to see if he can get the two sides to restart stalled talks over a Superdome lease.

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Benson called off negotiations on April 27 until after the 2005 season. Benson and Blanco have said they want to reach an accord that would keep the Saints in New Orleans at least through 2020.

The current $186 million deal, which expires after the 2010 season, enables the Saints to end the deal by paying the state about $81 million.

"I think I'm concerned any time negotiations break down, which seems to be the case," Tagliabue said at the NFL owners' meeting in Washington. "I'm expecting to talk to Tom in the next couple of days about his sense of where they are."

Blanco's chief negotiator, Tim Coulon, said he believes the governor would welcome involvement by the commissioner.

"I'm sure the governor would look favorably upon that," Coulon said. "The ball's been in Mr. Benson's court for some time now."

At the heart of the talks has been a $174 million renovation of the Superdome that Blanco says would give the Saints a chance to make more money without direct subsidies from the state.

Speaking Thursday after returning from the NFL owners' meeting, Benson said fans would have to decide whether the team stays in New Orleans.

According to Benson, the team has sold about 26,000 season tickets or about half the total they had sold at this time a year ago. The team also has about 40 vacant suites.

"Ninety percent of those who didn't renew their season tickets said the price was too high," he said. "We have a $25 ticket, while the league average is $90 per ticket. That's hard to swallow. I know people are hurting."

Benson said the Saints need more money to continue to compete in the NFL. He said he has spared no expense on salaries, which continue to grow. He cited a $140 million payroll that his club will have in the coming year.

"I'm doing everything I can, spending money like it's going out of style," he said. "We could have told (wide receiver) Joe Horn to take a hike. "We're giving him $8 million up front and another $40 million. Those are real dollars."

Benson reiterated his desire for a new stadium as a way to compete with other markets that have built newer facilities. He said the new stadiums have generated more dollars by providing more amenities to fans.

He said he didn't think the Superdome could be renovated to compete with the league's newer stadiums, but that he was "open to everything," in hopes of keeping the team here.

Benson also said that despite NFL Commissioner Paul Tagliabue's pledge to talk to both Benson and Gov. Blanco in an attempt to make peace, he didn't believe the two sides would talk about a new deal until the season is over.

WhoDat 06-05-2005 09:50 PM

RE: COMMISH GETTING INVOLVED. MIGHT BE GOOD
 
Quote:

"Ninety percent of those who didn't renew their season tickets said the price was too high," he said. "We have a $25 ticket, while the league average is $90 per ticket. That's hard to swallow. I know people are hurting."
Lie. The cheapest ticket, according to the Saints' website, is $35. After that the prices jump to over 60, I believe. The AVERAGE ticket price in the NFL is about $55. The Saints just increased their average price to $54, which adjusted for cost of living is higher than the NFL average. I posted all this before... Benson just keeps wanting to throw BS out there. I just don't understand how you can blatantly lie and skew facts like he does.

Danno 06-06-2005 03:02 PM

RE: COMMISH GETTING INVOLVED. MIGHT BE GOOD
 
The main person involved in wanting to re-locate a team to Los Angeles is getting involved? It IS a good thing, if you're a fan of relocating a team to Los Angeles.

It feels like the point of no return is creeping up on us right before our eyes.


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