The Saints and the state worked out a deal to keep the Saints in Louisiana until 2025. No more talk of the Los Angeles Saints or San Antonio Saints. It seems like not too long ago, we were convinced that the team was leaving. I was considering what to do if they left: become a Lions fan or an Eagles fan.
After more than a year of negotiating, the Saints say they have reached a tentative agreement with the state that will keep the NFL franchise in New Orleans through 2025, remove the need for a new stadium by upgrading the Superdome and resurrect an abandoned section of the Central Business District with a refurbished office tower and a new sports entertainment district.
This still has to be approved by the legislature, so it’s not done yet.
Basically, Benson buys the empty office building next to the Superdome and rents it to the state at a higher-than-normal rate. He also buys New Orleans Centre and its parking garage, and reopens it. The state pays to remodel the Dome for more luxury boxes. Most importantly, the deal puts the state’s obligations to pay the Saints on a yearly basis on a sliding scale. If the team makes more than $12 million in a year, the state pays nothing. They won’t pay more than $6 million a year. Right now, everything is paid for by the state.
So yeah, Benson got a sweet deal. But the state does too. They pay out less money and the Saints assume part of the risk of operating an NFL team. And hopefully, there will be a revitalization of that area of the CBD as state agencies move their employees there.
I walked down by the Dome the other day, and there is no one out there except the folks coming out of the LSU clinic in New Orleans Centre. Just a few blocks south on Poydras, there were office workers every where.
Hopefully the state legislature approves the deal, considering that they like to complain about anything related to spending money on New Orleans or the Saints.