New Orleans Market No Longer Viable
New Orleans market no longer viable
Saints, Hornets may have to find other permanent home in near future
By Evan Weiner
Updated: 11:28 a.m. ET Sept. 1, 2005
The last thing that should be on anyone's mind in New Orleans is the future of the city's NFL franchise. But at some point, National Football League Commissioner Paul Tagliabue, along with his owners, Louisiana elected officials and Saints owner Tom Benson will have to decide what to do with the team.
Understand this, Louisiana was already paying to keep Benson and the Saints in town. Benson cut a nine-year deal with then-Louisiana Gov. Mike Foster that required the state to pay $186.5 million between 2002 and 2010 to keep the Saints playing in the Superdome.
Louisiana was able to cobble together enough money in 2002 and 2003; those payments were $12 and $13 million, but struggled to meet 2004 and 2005 commitments. Gov. Foster and the two state houses agreed to pay Benson from a tourist tax fund. But, New Orleans saw tourism drop after the 9-11 terrorist attacks and Louisiana officials have borrowed from other sources to make payments.
Benson is owed more than $130 million under the terms of the agreement.
Benson's team is committed to playing in New Orleans through the 2006 season as state officials found enough money to give him his $15 million stipend in July. Had the state defaulted, Benson could have started looking for a new city in September and be in a new city in 2006.
At this point, the city of New Orleans and the state of Louisiana has to secure the city, provide essential services and protect its population. The health and welfare of the population is paramount.
That is what government is supposed to do.
But this recovery is going to be a long, long process. It will be years before New Orleans and southern Louisiana along with Gulf Coast Mississippi will be economically viable.
That's also Benson's market.
RE: New Orleans Market No Longer Viable
Has there ever been any talk of building a stadium on the northshore?
None I ever heard of... I think it needs to be accessable to the people more than a buisness district. Obviously there will be some planning and designing for future use/shelters involved. From what I seen for the most part if it was a Cat 3 the Dome would have done great being a cat 4 into NO area it took a hit but still did well perhaps more planning for emergency power and storerooms for trucks to pull in with food and water.
Well, if they do rebuild the city, I can't think of a better tourist attraction to get the economy flowing once again than the NFL.
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