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

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

S.A. officials upset with Tagliabue; Columnist calls on Benson to sell; Water Cooler lauds S.A. attendance through easily accessible tickets

NFL commissioner Paul Tagliabue is scheduled to make a trip to San Antonio this week to meet with Tom Benson about the future of the Saints.

City officials there, however, are offended that Tags doesn't want to meet with them, reports the San Antonio Express-News.

Of course, after San Antonio's politicians have slammed Tagliabue as, for example, being "off his rocker," should they be all that surprised?

It's also notable that the Express-News itself has blasted Tagliabue, saying in one column that he "couldn't spell Alamo if you spotted him the vowels."

Today's Express-News article notes that Tagliabue has stated he doesn't want the NFL moving to any small markets, especially with a vacant Los Angeles.

With that, ex-San Antonio mayor Nelson Wolff told the Express-News, "They are adamant that this is a small market, and the truth is we are a small market...Regardless of what anyone says, we are a small market."

So, is Wolff off his rocker too?

The Mobile Register's Neal McCready penned a column for today's edition that calls on Tom Benson to sell the Saints.

Bits from McCready's piece:
"But the majority of the blame falls at the feet of team owner Tom Benson. The Saints didn't play a home game all season, set up temporary shop in San Antonio and were cast aside by a league infuriated at Benson. It's been a mess, on and off the field, and it promises only to get worse before it gets any better."

"Benson didn't cause Katrina, of course, but the rest of this disaster of a franchise is of his making. Because of Benson's horrid public relations skills and his utter lack of empathy for the people of Louisiana, the Saints will have to be resold to a fan base that once loved them regardless of their warts."

"Until Sunday, all of those issues can be buried thanks to the presence of a football game on the schedule. On Monday, however, there can be no more denials. Changes will likely come quickly. Benson should make the process easier by putting his team on the market. And if he won't, Tagliabue should find out just how powerful he and his league are."
Nothing would make Saints fans happier.

The San Antonio Express-News "Water Cooler" column, which has frequently bashed Louisiana in regard to the Saints fiasco, had this to offer in its most recent edition:
"No respect, I tell ya... - The Saints-to-San Antonio bandwagon has gone stealth, but you have to commend those still cracking the whip. The near-capacity crowd for the Lions game Christmas Eve rates as the Miracle on Commerce Street. It's official: San Antonio, despite having less of an attachment and less incentive, outdrew Baton Rouge by a 3-2 margin for Saints games, and it doesn't matter that Lions tickets were practically distributed under the wiper blades of parked cars.

"So what's the city's reward? Next up: Another possible insult from Paul Tagliabue, who has plans to fly to S.A. this week and meet with owner Tom Benson and Saints players. He's not scheduled to meet with city officials in a city that bought 54 percent of all Saints home tickets this season, and in only three games."
Comments on, and links to, other offerings of the Water Cooler can be found here, here, and here.

How about acknowledging the fact that Benson destroyed his public relations in Louisiana, or that tickets were not so readily distributed in Louisiana to give the impression that is so proudly proclaimed in this article? In other words, it does matter that tickets were "practically distributed under the wiper blades of parked cars."

One city was praised by Benson; the other has been bashed by him. Where's the mention of that???


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Anonymous Saints Fan said...

...Regardless of what anyone says, [San Antonio] is a small market." So, is Wolff off his rocker too?

Small is a relative term. At 1.3 million, San Antonio is the nation’s 8th largest city and is growing (22% increase between 1990 & 2000). At 462,000, pre-Katrina New Orleans was the 35th largest city and shrinking (-3% between 1990 & 2000). Currently New Orlean’s estimated population is around 60,000. San Antonio has a rapidly growing business base willing to financially support the Saints. Major players such as AT&T, Toyota, Washington Mutual and the National Security Agency are adding to the city’s sizable corporate presence.

In contrast, Pre-Katrina New Orleans relied on $376 million in state subsidies, which will be difficult if not impossible to continue in the future. Much of New Orleans business community has relocated to Baton Rouge where they demonstrated no willingness to support the Saints, despite several meetings with team officials encouraging discounted block ticket purchases. In contrast, several San Antonio corporations were willing to commit to 1,000+ ticket purchases to ensure the team’s success. The majority of these tickets were distributed to New Orleans evacuees or members of the military as tokens of goodwill.

In a perfect world, the ideal solution would be for the Saints to return to New Orleans and for San Antonio and Los Angeles to receive future NFL expansion teams.

Reality is that while the Saints may return to New Orleans for part of 2006 as morale-building gesture on the part of the NFL, realistically the city will not be able to support a professional football team for several years at best. The most likely scenerio is for the NFL to move the team to Los Angeles or San Antonio for the 2007 season.

If I were in New Orleans, I would rather have the Saints in a nearby South Texas in a city that generously supported both New Orleans evacuees and the Saints, as apposed to a city half-way across the continent that has done little for NOLA, and has lost three NFL teams due to lackluster support.

3:48 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It is clear from this person's comment that he is not from New Orleans or Louisiana. His facts concerning the number of people back in New Orleans are flat wrong. He as well as others who want to steal the Saints, including some in the media, never give all of the facts concerning the number of citizens that are in the New Orleans metro area. From my understanding, there are still over 1 million people in the metro area. There were several reasons why people didn't go to the games in Baton Rouge, including people trying to get back into their homes and restart their businesses. However, the main reason people didn't go to the games was because of the ego-maniac called Tom Benson.

New Orleans is rebuilding and will be bigger and better than ever. The person who wrote the previous comment is trying to sooth his guilty conscience and make himself feel better because he knows that San Antonio and it's leaders are wrong in actively pursuing and attempting to steal the New Orleans Saints after the devastation of Hurricane Katrina. Why didn't SA try to steal the New York Gaint's after 911 or the San Francisco 49ers after the Earthquakes in California.

The political and business leaders of San Antonio, including Tom Benson are stompping us in our head and spitting in our faces while we are down. All the while trying to rationalize there actions. It just like a brother stealing his brother's girlfriend, then saying it's better if I have her instead of that joker down the street.

PS. Instead of talking about the support that SA had for the saint in only three games. Lets talk about the support that this region has had for the New Orleans Saints for over three decades. Stop believing the hype that Benson and the Saints cannot make money in the Gulf South Region (New Orleans) that is just not true. SA 54% of ticket sales in 2005 is nothing compared to New Orleans support of nearly 100% of ticket sales from 1960's upto 2004.


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