Full text of Benson press conference
The full text of remarks made by Saints Owner Tom Benson at a press conference at the Saints facility in Metairie on Tuesday afternoon:
Welcome and thank you for coming today. Today I am pleased to have nothing but positive news to report.
As we get ready for opening weekend of the 2006 NFL regular season this weekend, I wanted to make myself available to talk about this upcoming season and to THANK our fans for their loyal support.
There are so many negative stories one year after Hurricane Katrina, that I felt compelled to come out today to talk about a positive story...our team and our fans and their support of this team as we start the 2006 campaign.
To date, we have sold 65,000 season tickets and we only have a little more than 3,000 left. That is a positive story.
At the pace in which we have been going, it will be a certainty that when we open our regular season home schedule on September 25, we will not have any tickets left to sell, in other words, we will be sold out for the entire season.
This is the first time in the team's history that this has happened. And all of the credit goes to the fans of this team. That is a positive story.
Also, I am pleased to report that the sale of our box suites has increased and the activity in that area has been very positive. Of 137 suites, we only have 37 left to sell...
As I stated some months ago, we understand the tough times that face the many businesses here so it is important that we thank those companies that have stepped up thus far...I promise those companies that they are in for an exciting year.
In addition, we have all seen the progress being done on the Superdome to get ready to host this game on September 25, as I stated in Shreveport, we need to thank Governor Blanco for her support in making this happen.
We have spoken so often about the return of football to the Superdome and what this will symbolize, but we do not need to look any further than the resolve of our fans in this community and the way they have rallied around our team.
There will be many stories that week when we return to the Superdome, the return of football to the city, the reopening of the Dome, but I think the real story is our fans, the people who have lived through this terrible tragedy and their return to the Superdome as well in record numbers...That is the positive story.
As I said earlier, it will be a shame to not be in that number and be part of history, we have recently made history here in this city for some not so great things, but I think this is a start to something good in our city...the Saints have been working both on and off the field to improve, we have been working hard in our community...
As I speak to you today...our running back Reggie Bush is at it again along with a host of other players, donating four tons of food downtown to nearly 800 needy families.
These are the special things that mean so much to me as the Owner of this team...the fact that when we host the Falcons on September 25, we will have more than 500 media outlets here covering the game from Japan to London and from Los Angeles to New York...unprecedented coverage of our city and our team at a time when people need to be reminded...and I think this will be a shining example of something very, very positive as they see a sold out Superdome...
Looking back, we have had a great training camp in Jackson, Mississippi and we hosted two preseason games in Jackson and Shreveport and the crowds were tremendous and the energy was fantastic...
We all look forward to that same energy in the Superdome this year, we do not want an empty seat, we have all heard about the 12th man at Texas A&M and in Seattle, but there is no comparison to the 12th man in the Superdome, so we encourage everyone to use their tickets or make sure they get used.
We have made many changes to our roster recently and I am like many of you, still learning these players, but I do know that I like what I have seen from Mickey and Sean and I look forward to opening this season this weekend in Cleveland and than back here in late September.
Want to drop me a line? Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.