saints (n.) - NFL franchise presently based in New Orleans; boondoggle (n.) - an unnecessary or wasteful project or activity; saintsdoggle (n.) - the Saints' potential relocation situation in New Orleans, and the resulting boondoggle by Louisiana to keep the team from leaving

Thursday, October 20, 2005

Benson tries to escape Metairie lease, not pushing BR tickets much; Tagliabue may intervene

News today centers around Tom Benson seeking to terminate a lease with the state of Louisiana for the Saints' training facility in Metairie.

According to today's Times-Picayune, the lease, which costs Benson a solid dollar ($1) a year (plus maintenance and operating costs), is set to expire in 2018. Benson's attorney claims the facility has been rendered unusable by Katrina's devastation.

State officials, on the other hand, say the facility sustained minimal damage.

The Times-Picayune also reports that Benson has gone out of his way to stay out of the way in promoting Saints games in Baton Rouge. According to the article, "sources within the team said there has been little interest from the Saints' braintrust in doing much to sell tickets for the Baton Rouge games."

Imagine that.

Lack of advertising, plus Benson's arrogant antics, plus San Antonio's slimy posturing, equals an alienated fan base.

A few print ads probably will serve about as effectively as a band-aid on a gaping bullet wound.

Yahoo! Sports columnist Charles Robinson wrote that NFL commissioner Paul Tagliabue may attempt to intervene in the growing divide between Benson and Louisiana/New Orleans:
"NFL commissioner Paul Tagliabue is keeping a close eye on what has become an escalating war of words over the franchise, including shots fired by the mayors of New Orleans and San Antonio. There is a belief Tagliabue will attempt to set up another meeting with Benson and state officials in hopes of salvaging the situation."
With all due respect, I think salvaging the situation would take a miracle at this point.

Perhaps he will hear the call from the New Orleans Times-Picayune editorial page, which fired its desparation rescue flare with "Help us out, Mr. Tagliabue."


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