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, October 25, 2006

Saints still have hazy future; NFL's L.A. option may be too expensive

NFL owners met this week in New Orleans to discuss a handful of issues. Because of the locale, the inevitable issue of the Saints' long-term viability came up, and the basic gist of what was said is this:

It's been a great start to 2006, but it's still too early to tell whether the team can remain viable for the long-term future.

According to this Times-Picayune article, Saints owner Tom Benson said that he is "a little disappointed in the business community" because 30 of the Superdome's 137 luxury suites - many of which are still incomplete - have gone unsold. (The number of unsold suites previously was reported as being lower, but that number has increased reportedly because businesses that had committed to buy some of the available suites backed out.)

But, Benson remained optimistic about the future of the franchise in the Crescent City, adding, "[L]ook at what we've done. If we all work together, there's no telling what can happen."

Of course, the stage is still set for negotiations between Tommy Boy and Kathleen Blanco to set up a long-term commitment to New Orleans and Louisiana. And Blanco may be very willing to talk, given that she is up for re-election next year (which looks unlikely at this point...).

For more on the ongoings of this week's meetings, check out the above link.

One very intriguing sidebar to the NFL owner meeting is that stadium cost proposals were apparently presented to the owners by groups representing areas in Los Angeles.

This article by Jason Cole of Yahoo! Sports explains in part as follows:
"The owners were told that the cost of a new facility in either Anaheim or on the Los Angeles Coliseum site could be between $850 million and $1 billion.

"Coupled with the lack of public support in California generally, there are a growing number of owners who are losing enthusiasm for a return to Los Angeles. At least two owners said privately that they didn't see a need to return to Los Angeles if there wasn't public support. Two other owners said the issue appears to have waned in terms of importance."
Benson stated that the league's move into the L.A. market was "on the backburner", and Denver Broncos owner Pat Bowlen told Cole that "it's on the radar, but I wouldn't say it's a priority."

The article also astutely points out that all three existing NFL franchises in California are in need of new stadiums or new stadium deals.


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