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tiggerpolice 08-16-2005 01:57 PM

Blanco says Saints need to 'back off' incentives
 
Blanco says Saints need to 'back off' incentives
By MICHELLE MILLHOLLON
mmillhollon@theadvocate.com
Capitol news bureau

HARAHAN -- New Orleans Saints owner Tom Benson made clear to Gov. Kathleen Blanco this summer that he's still interested in a new stadium.

Blanco said Monday that Benson would have to "dramatically back off his incentives" if he wants a $600 million-plus stadium to be on the table when the football team and the state resume talks on a long-term deal.

The state borrowed money the last two years to pay the Saints millions of dollars in cash inducements. The incentive package expires in five years.

Blanco said the state's financial obligations to the Saints make it difficult to consider building a new stadium rather than simply renovating the aging Superdome.

"It's very expensive," the governor said while in Harahan to promote tax breaks for the entertainment industry. "Whatever we end up with has to be affordable."

The timetable for the talks isn't set.

Blanco's point person on the negotiations, Tim Coulon, said he wants to get some direction from the governor before he sits down with the Saints.

It would be the second round of talks since Blanco took office seeking a long-term agreement between the National Football League franchise and the state.

Benson broke off talks in April, saying he would stick with his current deal, which guarantees the team $186.5 million in state subsidies through 2010.

After he spurned the state, officials close to the team suggested the Saints could leave New Orleans, rumors Benson later denounced.

Blanco has long said she wants a more affordable deal with the team. She asked the team to kick in $40 million toward a $174 million Superdome renovation and to agree to a $14 million cut in cash payments from the state beginning in three years.

The Saints only offered to shell out $17.5 million for renovations and wanted $4 million more a year in cash than the state was willing to pay.

Benson met with Blanco in June, setting the stage for further negotiations.

Just what there is to negotiate is unclear.

Blanco said she hopes the Saints may have less of a need for state aid.

"I'm hopeful we can come to an understanding where they stay and it's affordable to us," she said.

Arnold Fielkow, the Saints executive vice president of administration, refused to comment Monday.

There is one point on which Benson and Blanco agree. Both would like to see New Orleans land the 2010 Super Bowl.

The game is up for grabs after New York City's plans for a new stadium unraveled.

Blanco said New Orleans is well-equipped to handle a large, sophisticated crowd.

Benson echoed that sentiment in a statement last week.

However, a look at newspapers nationwide show the 2010 Super Bowl is a hot ticket.

# From the Miami Herald: "When it comes to the Super Bowl, New York's loss might be South Florida's gain."

# The Atlanta Journal-Constitution: "Atlanta gets new shot at landing Super Bowl."

# New York Newsday: "Now that the NFL has opened up the bidding for the 2010 Super Bowl, look for Houston to make a major push to get the game."

Blanco said there's "always the potential" for New Orleans to nab the championship game.

To be in contention, the state needs a long-term deal with the Saints, Benson said in his statement.

Blanco pointed to an added benefit: A long-term agreement might give the Saints' players the confidence to win, she said.



http://www.2theadvocate.com/stories/...lanco001.shtml

WhoDat 08-16-2005 02:04 PM

RE: Blanco says Saints need to
 
Quote:

Blanco pointed to an added benefit: A long-term agreement might give the Saints' players the confidence to win, she said.
Cooooold bloooooded.

Memnoch_TP 08-16-2005 02:31 PM

Re: RE: Blanco says Saints need to
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by WhoDat
Quote:

Blanco pointed to an added benefit: A long-term agreement might give the Saints' players the confidence to win, she said.
Cooooold bloooooded.


Yup. This is what we get for electing a woman.

ScottBalot 08-16-2005 04:24 PM

Re: RE: Blanco says Saints need to
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Memnoch_TP
Quote:

Originally Posted by WhoDat
Quote:

Blanco pointed to an added benefit: A long-term agreement might give the Saints' players the confidence to win, she said.
Cooooold bloooooded.


Yup. This is what we get for electing a woman.

That's not we we get for electing A woman, it's what we get for electing THAT woman.

WhoDat 08-17-2005 08:31 AM

RE: Re: RE: Blanco says Saints need to
 
Frankly, I think she's playing Benson perfectly. And that little comment, IMO, is kind of funny. :)


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