More on Saints deal to stay in New Orleans through 2010
A few quick thoughts:
(1) Governor Kathleen Blanco said that negotiations are geared towards a deal that would keep the Saints in New Orleans through at least 2025, if not longer. Those negotiations will likely be concluded with her successor.
(2) Saints owner Tom Benson was positive and optimistic, but remained noncommittal to the team's prospects beyond 2010. He noted that a lot of improvements to the Superdome still need to be completed, but didn't commit to whether he thought the 31-year-old stadium would be sufficient beyond 2010.
(3) The league apparently is looking at reconstruction of New Orleans over the next three to four years as a critical factor in determining whether the team stays put beyond 2010. In other words, our politicians need to really step up to the plate and deliver. The next governor will be instrumental in whether the team stays or goes.
(4) Benson wants to continue receiving annual inducement payments from the state to remain in New Orleans; Blanco wants to end those payments. Previous NFL commissioner Paul Tagliabue was very critical of the inducement payment setup. It's not clear whether current commissioner Roger Goodell favors them or not. This issue will be critical to a long-term deal, and again, the next governor will be instrumental in this. As an aside, Benson has supported Bobby Jindal through financial contributions to his campaign dating back to 2004. Obviously Jindal's election would be tremendously beneficial to the long term prospects of the Saints remaining home in New Orleans.
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