June 20, 2001 - Associated Press
The state of Louisiana presented a new proposal to the Saints in an effort to keep the team in New Orleans.
In the plan presented to the Saints, the state made a commitment to build a new stadium, to be completed between 2009 and 2011, if the Saints continue to insist they need one.
The Saints say they cannot compete with NFL competitors in bigger and richer markets without state help, a conclusion the state's consultants have confirmed.
Owner Tom Benson's vision for a new football stadium inspired the architects at HOK to design a building that is compatible with its surroundings in New Orleans. Each plan for a new facility features an oval shape that provides ideal sightlines for the fans, while also adding elements
that recall a classic football setting. A retractable roof brings the joys of outdoor football back to the region while also protecting the fans from harsh weather.
Compared to the Superdome, fan accommodations will be greatly improved. It will be easier to get to your seats, to concession stands and out of the stadium. The seats will be more comfortable and closer to the action on the field. A state-of-the-art entertainment system will add to the experience with videos and an enhanced scoreboard system. Benson's plans also bring tailgating back to the fans, something that has been sorely missed over the last 25 years.
SAINTS, STATE TALK ABOUT THEIR FUTURES
February 5, 2009
Copyright 2009 MediaVentures
New Orleans, La. - The Jindal administration and the New Orleans Saints are working under a
two-month deadline to reach an agreement on the NFL franchise's future in Louisiana.
Gov. Bobby Jindal declined to divulge details on the talks with the team - or even to
acknowledge the time crunch.
"We don't have anything to say today about a possible extension," Jindal said during a news
conference in Baton Rouge on a different issue.
Jindal said there is time to ensure that the team continues to play in the Superdome past 2010.
However, other officials said they want a deal in place to make New Orleans more attractive as
a possible host of the 2013 Super Bowl.
Draft bids have to be submitted by prospective hosts to the NFL by April 1. A site is expected to
be chosen at the NFL owners' meeting in May.
"It's our goal to have something done prior to that meeting," Ron Forman, chairman of the
Stadium and Exposition District's Board of Commissioners, said.
As chairman, Forman is one of the Jindal administration's primary negotiators in the talks with
Greg Bensel, vice president of communications for the Saints, noted the complexity of the
long-term agreement that must be worked out between the team and the state.
Bensel said the Saints want to be at the table when the 2013 Super Bowl bids are proposed.
"We don't want to miss a window of opportunity," said Sam Joffray, vice president of the
Greater New Orleans Sports Foundation, which is a local organizing committee for events.
To have a strong bid, there needs to be a level of confidence that the Saints will be in Louisiana past 2010, Joffray said.
The Saints currently are receiving $23.5 million a year in cash inducements from the state. The
agreement - brokered by former Gov. Mike Foster - guaranteed the team $186.5 million in state
subsidies through 2010.
The state is struggling to meet the annual payments to the franchise. The largest problem is
that hotel and motel tax collections are falling short. The state also is grappling with a budget
shortfall of more than $1 billion for the fiscal year that begins July 1.
Bill Curl, media relations coordinator for SMG, which manages the Superdome, said the state is
looking at "creative" ways of helping the Saints generate more money for themselves.
The idea, Curl said, is to look at ways to create more revenue to decrease the amount of direct
payment from the state. (Baton Rouge Advocate)
BOWL GAMES GETTING PUBLIC FINANCING
January 5, 2012
Copyright 2012 MediaVentures
Phoenix, Ariz. - The Sugar Bowl has accepted annual subsidies of at least $1 million from the
state of Louisiana during much of the BCS era, while increasing its reserves to $34.2 million, records obtained by the Arizona Republic show.
Two other Bowl Championship Series games - the Fiesta and Orange bowls - also amassed cash reserves while accepting public subsidies from governments, many of which have recently been forced to make other cuts to their budgets.
The non-profit organizations that operate the three bowls pay no taxes on their revenues, donate a small percentage of their revenue to charitable causes and have significantly raised executive pay in recent years, the newspaper said.
The BCS, a system created in the 1998-99 season by universities and athletic conferences, designates by contract which bowls are part of its postseason bowl system. It selects which teams play in those games and a rotating fifth game that determines a national champion.
Of the four bowls now in the BCS - Fiesta, Orange, Rose and Sugar - only the Rose Bowl says it has not received government subsidies.
The bowls defend the subsidies because they classify their events as economic engines that attract tens of thousands of tourists annually. They and their government sponsors view the subsidies as seed capital to help stage showcase events that guarantee the bowls and their communities continued national status.
The bowls note their games pump hundreds of millions of dollars into their local economies. The Sugar Bowl, for example, said its game and related activities injected $137 million into New Orleans and Louisiana in fiscal 2010.
Louisiana Lt. Gov. Jay Dardenne, whose office has paid out subsidies to the Sugar Bowl since fiscal 2006-07, told the Republic the bowl has been a good state investment. But, he added, the bowl no longer is "an appropriate recipient" of funds following media reports in the past year about the Sugar Bowl's reserves and Chief Executive Paul Hoolahan's salary of nearly $600,000.
Recently, the Sugar Bowl also admitted making improper campaign contributions to Louisiana's former governor.
"They have a huge surplus, and they are paying a huge salary to the executive director," Dardenne said. "It certainly makes you recognize a non-profit entity like that has an upside potential to make money, and it no longer has a need to be subsidized by government entities."
The bowls generate their income from the games, sponsorships and TV contracts. Last year, the combined BCS payout was nearly $182 million, with roughly 80 percent of the money going to the six power conferences that created the BCS.
The Sugar Bowl, according to its annual non-profit statement to the Internal Revenue Service, has taken government assistance since at least 2001-02, when the bowl accepted $1 million and had net assets of $10.7 million. Records show the bowl has since accepted subsidies nearly every year, for a total of nearly $11 million, as its net reserves more than tripled to $34.2 million.
Hotel and motel bed-tax revenues across Louisiana generate the state funding, Jacques Berry, a spokesman for Dardenne told the Republic. The money is passed through the Lieutenant Governor's Office after lawmakers and the governor approve a budget, Berry said.
The funding ultimately landed in the BCS' hands in 2009-10 as part of a $6 million Sugar Bowl payment to the BCS under its contract.
All subsidies from the state go to the BCS for payouts to universities participating in its bowls, said Sugar Bowl spokesman John Sudsbury.
The Sugar Bowl's $34.2 million net reserve is the healthiest among BCS members. The bowl turned down nearly $1.4 million from the state in the fiscal year ended June 30, Dardenne said, after publicity regarding the Sugar Bowl CEO's pay and because Louisiana was "going through serious financial challenges."
The Fiesta and Orange bowls also receive subsidies:
* Tempe, through 2013, will have paid the Fiesta Bowl $6.45 million to ensure the group continues to hold the Insight Bowl, a second game the bowl operates annually, in Tempe's Sun Devil Stadium. The contract requires the city to pay the bowl $850,000 this year and next and $900,000 the final year.
At the same time, Tempe in the fiscal year ended June 30 cut its budget by nearly $36.2 million and eliminated 2111Ú2 positions. Employees were forced to take furloughs last fiscal year and will do so again this fiscal year.
The Scottsdale Convention & Visitors Bureau signed an agreement to pay the Fiesta Bowl $8.2 million over 20 years starting with the 2006-07 football season. In exchange for the money, which the bureau receives from city hotel-bed taxes, the Fiesta Bowl requires participating teams to stay in Scottsdale-area hotels and resorts. For the past Fiesta Bowl, for example, the universities of Connecticut and Oklahoma reported spending a combined $1.1 million in local lodging and meals.
The Fiesta Bowl had $22.3 million in net assets in 2009-10, the most recent year for which IRS records are available. That is nearly three times the value of its assets when the BCS began.
* Public tax documents filed by the Orange Bowl report it received nearly $2.5 million in government grants since 2007-08. The largest chunk, $1.2 million, came in 2008-09. However, documents do not identify the sources of the grants, and the bowl declined requests to name them.
"Suffice it to say, we receive support from multiple sources as we affect tourism and economic development throughout the South Florida region," Orange Bowl spokesman Larry Wahl said.
The Miami-area bowl has more than quadrupled its net reserves to $31.5 million since the BCS began.
* The Rose Bowl in Pasadena, Calif., which started in 1902 and is the oldest bowl, does not receive public subsidies. It has net reserves of $19.1 million, slightly more than double the amount since the BCS began and the lowest among BCS bowls.
Tempe Mayor Hugh Hallman said the Insight Bowl generates value for his city. But he considers the city's contract with the Fiesta too expensive.
"The amount provided to the bowl is larger than it needs to be," Hallman said. "I do recognize the community investment for the event is necessary . . . but I hope in the future the amount the city pays will be brought down."