Monday, May 4, 2009

Saints Nation: Ticket sales since Katrina have kept the Saints in New Orleans

Some of the bleakest times in Saint's history off the field run parallel to the the bleakest of times in American history. In the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina the Saints relocated to San Antonio and it looked as if they'd never come back. The entire city of San Antonio, from the mayor to the taxpayers, lobbied very hard for a permanent move by the Saints that would leave New Orleans behind. They didn't hold back punches, offered little sympathy, and Tom Benson seemed very receptive to the idea of relocating. Had it not been for a few good men: Arnold Fielkow and Paul Tagliabue, NFL Commissioner at the time, the move likely would have happened. Both resisted strongly the idea that the Saints would go anywhere but back to New Orleans the second the city was ready to receive them. Fielkow, being an employee of Benson, paid the price for his beliefs. Tagliabue, being an authority figure, had his way in giving New Orleans a second chance.

Once the fans of New Orleans got that second chance, there was never any second guessing. Every single home game since Katrina has been a sell out. As the Saints just signed a deal to keep the team in New Orleans and in the Superdome till at least 2025, it is apparent that the fans are responsible. It's remarkable, really, in this economy and in a city who's infrastructure was ravaged completely by a category 5 Hurricane, that the city still finds 70,000 people 8 Sundays a year to bolster the team's support and finances. Benson sure is singing a different tune; and while it's hard to forgive, it's getting easier to forget.

If you're interested in the exact terms of the deal struck between the Saints and the state, THIS ARTICLE does a pretty good job of ironing out the details in a brief way. I'm not involved enough to understand all the intricacies of the deal, but I believe that the Saints will remain in New Orleans till at least 2025... And that kind of news, especially after what we as New Orleanians experienced just a few years ago, is a godsend.