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Maginnis: Driving New Orleans Saint Back To Louisiana.......

this is a discussion within the Saints Community Forum; Saints owner Tom Benson has not said why he is now ready to return to his seat at the bargaining table with the governor, but it could be because the fans are not returning to theirs in the Superdome. When ...

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Old 08-17-2005, 09:15 AM   #1
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Maginnis: Driving New Orleans Saint Back To Louisiana.......

Saints owner Tom Benson has not said why he is now ready to return to his seat at the bargaining table with the governor, but it could be because the fans are not returning to theirs in the Superdome.

When he broke off talks with the state in April, Benson said he would wait until the post-season before resuming negotiations. Part of what´s happened, or not happened, since then is seen at the box office, where season ticket sales are running 20,000 below the highs of just a few years ago.

Besides resisting increased ticket prices, fans might also be registering their displeasure with the owner and his demands for continued taxpayer support. Benson´s unpopularity is finally rubbing off on the team, and the illogical fan support demonstrated through the worst of years that never seem to get better. Despite the franchise´s marketing slogan for the coming season--"Faith!"--the fans seem to be losing theirs.

If attendance dips even an average of 10,000 per game, the loss of ticket, concession and parking revenue could easily top $750,000 per game, or $6 million for the season.

Starting the season with a string of wins--talk about faith!--could restore ticket revenue. Short of that, Benson needs to end his standoff and ink a long-term contract to keep the team in New Orleans in order to improve his battered public image and increase fan support.

Another reason for Benson´s pushing up his negotiating timetable is that he has a time-sensitive bargaining chip to deal. The 2010 Super Bowl, which seemed to be lost to New York in the spring, is back on the table after a proposed stadium complex in Manhattan fell through. Because Super Bowls only go to cities with long-term stadium deals, Benson needs to act before the National Football League rewards some other town.

That´s about all the leverage he has. The threat of his moving the team has been exposed as an idle one, as San Antonio leaders dismissed any notion of subsidizing the Saints the way Louisiana does. Los Angeles, without an NFL team, may appear to be the Promised Land, but Benson, like Moses, couldn´t lead the team there because of the league´s strong preference for local ownership. He can always sell the club for $600 million or so, but then he would no longer be a NFL owner--just a rich, or richer, old man.

He might as well restart talks now because waiting any longer is not going to get him a better deal. Consider the other side of the table. Gov. Kathleen Blanco has proposed a $174 million renovation of the Superdome and wants Benson to put up $40 million. He has counter-offered a 10 percent participation, $17.5 million. When the improvements are complete, Blanco wants to cut the subsidy payments, which will reach $23.5 million per year for 2009-11, to $9.5 million per year through 2025, with a 2 percent annual increase. Benson doesn´t want his payments reduced.

Blanco has the advantage, if you can call it that, of representing a Legislature and voting public that are fairly hostile toward giving the Saints anything. The Legislature, which must ratify and fund any contract she signs, is the bad cop to her not-so-bad one.

Blanco is hardly sitting comfortably, as many think her re-election prospects could ride on how the Saints matter is resolved. She will pay a price outside New Orleans if she is thought to give away too much. Losing the Saints would devastate her in the city, which accounted for her margin of victory in 2003, but gain her little credit with voters in the rest of the state, who would assume she was not smart or tough enough to cut the deal.

Benson has introduced some drama to the Saints´ pre-season, which, given the team´s performance in its first outing, is deflating expectations already. Success at the bargaining table could be all that makes up for what is going to happen, or not happen, on the field.


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Old 08-17-2005, 12:12 PM   #2
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RE: Maginnis: Driving New Orleans Saint Back To Louisiana...

I think another factor in declining season-ticket sales is the advent and growth of HDTV's. Seriously.

I bought one about a month ago to prepare for the upcoming season. And now that I've seen a few games in HD, well, it's better by far than sitting in the Dome. By far. I see more on this big-screen than I can see from Terrace seats in the Dome. I can smoke, I can scream obscenities at the tube, I can drink beer more cheaply, urinate without waiting in line, I don't have to drive after the game, etc, etc, etc.

In fact, I don't even plan on going to games anymore, except for special occasions like Bills game to meet up with the members of this board.

That's got to hurt the Saints pocket book a bit with respect to ticket sales, as I've gone to Saints games for a decade+ and spent a small fortune each time. Now the only cash they'll get outta me is when a game is blacked out in my area. But even then... I'm tempted just to wait for the re-broadcast and watch it in HD.

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Old 08-17-2005, 12:19 PM   #3
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RE: Maginnis: Driving New Orleans Saint Back To Louisiana...

HD is going to kill everything, lol. I have to second your point... I been to several games all over the country and I much rather watch the game on tv/HD, even going to a local sports bar.
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Old 08-17-2005, 12:28 PM   #4
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RE: Maginnis: Driving New Orleans Saint Back To Louisiana...

The problem you are going to have with your HDTV this season is most of the home games will be blacked out locally.
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Old 08-17-2005, 12:38 PM   #5
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RE: Maginnis: Driving New Orleans Saint Back To Louisiana...

Thank God I live in Dallas! No Saints Blackout! I'll give Jerry Jones this. He's as slimy as a sewer rate but he puts his money where his mouth is and the Cowboys never fail to sell out. They also had Arlington falling all over themselves to get a new stadium built for the 2008 season. Oh to be a big market team! : (
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Old 08-17-2005, 01:26 PM   #6
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Re: RE: Maginnis: Driving New Orleans Saint Back To Louisian

Originally Posted by ScottBalot
The problem you are going to have with your HDTV this season is most of the home games will be blacked out locally.
You're most likely right. If they go 8-8 (which is my prediction anyway) then home games will probably be blacked out (expect Atlanta of course). But if by odd chance they manage to win the opener, some home games might sell out. And at least I'm guaranteed the away games.

Moving forward, though, I think HD will continue to tap into that market share. The picture is just that crisp, it's a wonderful view on the game.

Benson and crew should be worried.
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Old 08-17-2005, 05:58 PM   #7
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Re: RE: Maginnis: Driving New Orleans Saint Back To Louisian

Originally Posted by LordOfEntropy
I think another factor in declining season-ticket sales is the advent and growth of HDTV's. Seriously.

I bought one about a month ago to prepare for the upcoming season. And now that I've seen a few games in HD, well, it's better by far than sitting in the Dome. By far. I see more on this big-screen than I can see from Terrace seats in the Dome. I can smoke, I can scream obscenities at the tube, I can drink beer more cheaply, urinate without waiting in line, I don't have to drive after the game, etc, etc, etc.

In fact, I don't even plan on going to games anymore, except for special occasions like Bills game to meet up with the members of this board.

That's got to hurt the Saints pocket book a bit with respect to ticket sales, as I've gone to Saints games for a decade+ and spent a small fortune each time. Now the only cash they'll get outta me is when a game is blacked out in my area. But even then... I'm tempted just to wait for the re-broadcast and watch it in HD.
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Old 08-17-2005, 06:07 PM   #8
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Re: RE: Maginnis: Driving New Orleans Saint Back To Louisian

Originally Posted by stockman311
Thank God I live in Dallas! No Saints Blackout! I'll give Jerry Jones this. He's as slimy as a sewer rate but he puts his money where his mouth is and the Cowboys never fail to sell out. They also had Arlington falling all over themselves to get a new stadium built for the 2008 season. Oh to be a big market team! : (
What do you mean no blackouts? besides local sports bars or humperdinks and the nfl package, i'm lucky to catch one, maybe 2 games a year............what part of dallas offers nonstop saints? i am in plano and would'nt you know it, my neighbor who use to get the nfl package moved..........sob..................and on top of that, i had to fight him for the control to watch my own saints!!!!!!!!!double sob...................anyway, we get to watch em tomorrow!!!!!!!! (smiling ear to ear) i just hope i can keep it under 6 beers before the first quarter is over, so i can stay awake to see the end....................smitty
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Old 08-17-2005, 08:17 PM   #9
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Re: RE: Maginnis: Driving New Orleans Saint Back To Louisian

Originally Posted by ssmitty
Originally Posted by stockman311
Thank God I live in Dallas! No Saints Blackout! I'll give Jerry Jones this. He's as slimy as a sewer rate but he puts his money where his mouth is and the Cowboys never fail to sell out. They also had Arlington falling all over themselves to get a new stadium built for the 2008 season. Oh to be a big market team! : (
What do you mean no blackouts? besides local sports bars or humperdinks and the nfl package, i'm lucky to catch one, maybe 2 games a year............what part of dallas offers nonstop saints? i am in plano and would'nt you know it, my neighbor who use to get the nfl package moved..........sob..................and on top of that, i had to fight him for the control to watch my own saints!!!!!!!!!double sob...................anyway, we get to watch em tomorrow!!!!!!!! (smiling ear to ear) i just hope i can keep it under 6 beers before the first quarter is over, so i can stay awake to see the end....................smitty
NFL Sunday Ticket is the best $200 I spend all year. Being able to get 15-16 regular season Saints games uninterrupted every season is priceless.

I usually go to see the Saints game against the hated Falcons in person though.

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Old 08-17-2005, 09:50 PM   #10
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RE: Re: RE: Maginnis: Driving New Orleans Saint Back To Loui

I usually go to see the Saints game against the hated Falcons in person though.
If you're going to pick one to see in person, then that's the one. Make some noise for me in the Georgia Dome this year SFIAH.

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