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, September 06, 2006

Benson: 65,000 season tickets sold, only 3,300 left; Benson to meet with Blanco after season regarding extending lease

Saints owner Tom Benson held an impromptu press conference yesterday afternoon outside Saints headquarters in Metairie to announce that the team has sold a record-shattering 65,000 season tickets, leaving 3,300 remaining for the upcoming 2006 campaign. Plus, a total of 100 suites have been sold, leaving only 37 remaining.

Benson also stated that he expects to meet with Governor Kathleen Blanco after the upcoming season about extending the Saints' lease in the Superdome past 2010.

Also, he spoke in terms of "our community" and about how important the Saints are to Louisiana.

And, he showered local support with praise - which is a complete 180 from what he was doing during the summer of 2005 (pre-Katrina).

Thus far I've read two articles on the very positive announcement, with the MSNBC piece having many more quotes from Benson:

Below is a compilation of Benson's quotes gleaned from the above articles:

"This is unprecedented. This is the start of something good, real good -- maybe even something great."

"There are so many negative stories one year after Katrina, so I felt compelled to come out and talk about a positive story. We have spoken so often about the return of football in the Superdome and what that symbolizes. You do not need to look any further than the resolve of fans and businesses and the way they have rallied around our team."

"As they see this worldwide, then I think this is really the rebirth of everything that’s going to be good for our community."

"They think we’re going to have a good football team and they’re going to show the world we’re here, we’re back and we’re doing things."

"The governor’s been well informed of what’s been going on and she’s been very supportive of the Saints. Everybody in this state, including her, feel like we’ve felt a long time (about) how important the Saints are to our state."

"The storm affected every business in the Gulf South, but the Saints have been a leader in rebuilding the city. We're doing it. That's what everybody has to do."

"I think our commitment to New Orleans and the Gulf South has been there, and I like what I see of the commitment in return."

"There will be many stories that week about the Saints returning to New Orleans and the re-opening of the Dome. But the real story is the fans, the people that lived through this terrible tragedy and returned to the Superdome in record numbers."
I must say this, but I am thrilled with Benson's comments - it almost sounds like Paul Tagliabue in a Tom Benson mask. But if Tommy Boy has "seen the light", even if he's done so under the guidance of Saint Tags, Saints fans are all the better for it.

Other information that came from yesterday's news:

- Multiple businesses have been teaming up to buy single suites in the Superdome.
- Benson said he envisions the Saints being similar to Green Bay in that he wants to draw a regional fan base.
- Five hundred media outlets from around the world - with 1,000 media credentials issued - are expected to be present for the Saints' home re-opener against the Falcons on Monday Night Football.
- The Superdome's seating capacity will be 68,354.
- The team recently entered into a "major sponsorship deal" with Chevrolet Motor Company.

Great news for the long-term future of New Orleans...Now, I hope everyone who bought a ticket makes it to the games...


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