saintsdoggle

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

Friday, March 23, 2007

Positive news: Owners meeting talk furthers confirmation of San Antonio being out of the mix, L.A. on backburner

With the NFL's annual owners meeting set to begin this weekend in Phoenix, a few key issues regarding the Saints have been brought to light by the New York Sun's Evan Weiner in this article today.

Perhaps most importantly, Weiner confirms earlier reports that San Antonio is pretty much done as an NFL relocation option. Weiner writes:
"[T]he city of San Antonio has been relegated to the sidelines, having abandoned its search for an NFL (or Major League Baseball) franchise, which further limits the threat of relocation by the Yorks, Spanos, Wilf, or Saints owner Tom Benson. San Antonio and Bexar County, Texas, officials thought they were players in the stadium game until last week, when they were led to forfeit after neither NFL nor MLB officials expressed interest in the city.

"Perhaps San Antonio officials shouldn't have been surprised. The city's Alamodome was a stateof-the-art football facility when it opened in 1993 — but that was 14 years ago. Today, the multipurpose facility requires hundreds of millions of dollars in renovations.

"The San Antonio–Austin, Texas area is also a weak television market with a limited corporate base. The region's corporate community and rank-and-file ticket buyers already show their support for the NBA's Spurs. (San Antonio also has a baseball team in the Double A Texas League and an American Hockey League club.) A second major league franchise in San Antonio could result in a financial calamity for both the Spurs and the new team. There is just not enough of a market to sustain both.

"Even after Benson took his Saints from the Katrina-ravaged Superdome to play three games at the Alamodome, NFL officials remained convinced that San Antonio was simply not much of a market for pro football. Part of that reasoning may be attributable to Jerry Jones, whose Cowboys trained in San Antonio in 2002 and 2003 and will return this summer for training camp. Jones has signed a five-year deal with city officials, which grants him rent-free use of the Alamodome. San Antonio is part of the Dallas market and the league may be wary of cutting into McNair's Houston Texans revenue stream."
In other (and fewer) words, San Antonio is out of the running for a potential Saints relocation.

Next in terms of importance, Weiner writes that the NFL's Los Angeles dream is still just that, and it looks increasingly unlikely that a move will be made to that market in the short-term future. It is a "city without a state-of-the-art stadium" and possibilities for stadium sites in the L.A. area have fallen apart over the last few months.

Adding to the L.A. problem is the revelation by Weiner that the league's stadium-building subsidy program, also known as G-3, has emptied its coffers. In order to replenish this fund, owners may have to re-tool revenue sharing. Until that happens, it is likely that no discussion of building a stadium in Los Angeles can even begin to take place.

In short, the L.A. option is now dead.

Without San Antonio and Los Angeles as viable prospective relocation options, Benson has very little leverage in hinting a relocation from New Orleans - especially when season tickets are sold out and have a wait list 25,000 deep, and all Superdome suites are also sold out.

Friends, things are looking increasingly positive that the Saints will stay home in New Orleans beyond 2010, when their current agreement with Louisiana expires.

Now, we wait with baited breath for news on negotiations between Benson and the state, which we expect to hear within the next week.

With current governor Kathleen Blanco's announcement that she is not running for re-election this November, the pressure is off her politically to solidify a deal. But the pressure is on her to do so to help repair her incredibly fractured legacy. And, conversely, the pressure on Benson to not deal with someone he'd probably prefer not to benefit politically is off of him. (Recall his support for Bobby Jindal in 2003's gubernatorial election.) So, who knows how things will turn out?

In any event, the odds are steadily swinging in favor of the Saints staying in New Orleans. Keep your fingers crossed, and stay optimistic.

------

Want to drop me a line? Email me at saintsdoggle@yahoo.com.

11 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Things indeed are looking up....a total turn around from this time last year.

11:47 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

To suggest that New Orleans, in its present state of calamity, is a superior football market to San Antonio-Austin is beyond laughable. Do you really believe that garbage from the New York Sun about Los Angeles and San Antonio being out of the running for NFL teams. You can't be that stupid. San Antonio is 100 times superior of a city and LA a thousand times superior to that craphole of a dump known as New Orleans. But, I guess in the end it will take the relocation of the Saints from that hellhole to ultimately convince the likes of you that it is actually New Orleans that is non-viable as an NFL city.

6:38 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Where to begin to respond to such venom?

Does such a mean-spirited post even merit a response?

Alright, let's look at facts and speak truth to emotion.

No one denies the tenuousness of New Orleans' recovery or the uncertainties over the franchise's future. That's already been discussed plenty.

OTOH there are several points not mentioned in the vitriolic post.

How interested exactly is the NFL in San Antonio?

How would the Cowboys and Texans feel about a franchise there?

How about the stadium situation?

How would the league like the p.r. damage it would be incurring in taking away the franchise which has been such a national story and positive for the area and for the league most recently from the ravaged Gulf coast and awarding it to the vulturistic San Antonio?

One has got to think, also, that IF indeed the NFL feels that the franchise absolutely has to be relocated, that its own first choice would be Southern California instead of San Antonio.

However, in such a scenario Tom/Rita Benson Leblanc would most likely no longer to be able to stay on owner, given that the league would require local ownership. Yet, Benson has adamantly maintained that he isn't interested in selling the team.

So there's that complication.

There has not been a vulturistic talk, at least that I have heard, in regard to Southern California and that's to their credit.

Yet, for all of the market size talk, there have been two franchises to have relocated away from Southern California, they've lost a competition for an expansion franchise to Houston and don't seem to be too anxious to be building an NFL facility. Perhaps Los Angeles is just not an NFL town while several smaller markets definitely have been much more fervent over the years in giving what support that they can muster and the NFL, which has traditionally emphasized tv revenue sharing more than any other pro sports league, is not exactly hurting.

Thus it's not right at all to look at this and just talk about market size.

However, if one does want to go in that direction, it needs to be pointed out that the Saints market has to be considered as the whole area from Lake Charles on one end to Mobile and Pensacola on the other and then up to Shreveport and over to Jackson and it was hardly that long ago that the Saints were reported to be a very profitable and financially healthy franchise.

12:22 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You are a fool if you think this thing is put to bed. Considering that SA-Austin has six Fortune 500 companies I would not venture to say that they have a "limited" corporate base like this idiot Yankee implies. Speaking of limited corporate bases, the sad fact is that NOLA is a dying city in terms of its economy, as it has been the past 20 years. No respectable corporation is going to venture into NOLA, set up shop, and deal with the corrupt politicians, poor education, taxes, and crime when they can locate to Texas or Georgia where business is welcome.

And anyone who thinks the Saints fan base stretches from the Texas state line to Tallahassee is kidding themselves as well. The fact is that people don't care about the Saints 60 miles away in Baton Rouge, much less in Destin. Quit kidding yourselves and start supporting your Hometown Hornets, they are going to be the only professional team you have left in 2010 (and until their lease runs out and they get to bolt as well).

I don't care if the Saints end up in LA or SA, but I am going to enjoy the day it is announced. Maybe then NOLA can quit crying about professional sports and start working to fix their city.

Saints a profitable franchise? Yah, if your state is kicking in $140 million in subsidies to keep you around, KC Royals could be "profitable" there.

NOLA, what a pathetic excuse for a "major city".

9:53 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

How about working to fix the area AND enjoying the day's modestly positive developments in this story as well as the uplift for the city and state that the 2006 season provided for all of us?

Is it impossible to make progress on both fronts at the same time? Why?

And with a 25,000 waiting list for tickets, at least a few of us must be caring about the franchise.

Is everything totally put to bed with this story? No, but we are getting a chance and most of us are going to be fighting like crazy to succeed in this endeavor, while the fact is that Los Angeles has shied away from doing so with regard to the Raiders, the Rams, the expansion team competition with Houston and even now for whatever possibility there might be with an NFL team.

And again, with regard to the geographic market discussion, is the NFL really gung-ho on taking away a large chunk of the Cowboys' and Texans' market and giving that to a third team, an existing one at that which already has its own market?

Had Los Angeles bested Houston in getting the expansion team then that would probably be a major factor and you might have a lot more of a shot to get the bad news outcome that you seem to be wishing for. Houston seems to be a worthier market, thus proving out again how market size alone is hardly the whole story.

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