The Saints are going nowhere, as finally after a full year of talks, the team has announced they have reached a tentative agreement with the state of Louisiana to stay at the Superdome through 2025. The agreement states that the team will not need a new stadium to stay in the state, but the Superdome will be upgraded and the state will resurrect an abandoned section of the Central Business District with a refurbished office tower and a new sports entertainment district.
The NO Times-Picayune reports that the sides are expected to formally announce the deal at a press conference later today. The deal reportedly could save the state $281 million when compared with the current agreement that pays the Saints $23 million in subsidies, the state would make $85 million in improvements to the Dome, and Saints owner Tom Benson and his family would buy the vacant Dominion Tower and New Orleans Centre and lease office space back to the state.
“Our community is coming back slowly, and I think this is going to be the shot in the arm that’s going to keep it going in that direction, ” Benson said Wednesday. “I really believe that this is going to be something that is going to be very sound for our community.”
The agreement to approve $85 million in upgrades to the Superdome will need approval from the Legislature. The article says that the money to make the improvements will come from the state’s surplus. “There was a lot of excitement about the savings to the state, ” Superdome Chairman Ron Forman said. “There were still concerns because this is a tough fiscal year. But we also believe that if we are going to have professional sports in New Orleans, this is so much better than what we had before. And when we show the savings to the legislators, we think we will get whatever we need.”