Monday, March 29, 2010

The Saints Post-Championship World: Disenfranchised Fan Edition

Posted By on Mon, Mar 29, 2010 at 8:19 PM

Now that our Saints Super Bowl hangover has finally abated, we can once again go about the business of taking a (somewhat) sober look at where the Saints are and where they will be this upcoming season. But this season is special, because it is the first time that the Saints will enter it as Defending Super Bowl Champions. --Pause for parade.-- With that in mind, we're going to be taking a sort of different look at this off-season's events and how it affects Who Dats every where. You got your Super Bowl Championship, but what happens now? Let's find out.

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click to enlarge Chef Who Dat

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All but forgotten during last season's championship run was the deal the state of Louisiana struck with the New Orleans Saints and owner Tom Benson to keep the team in New Orleans through 2025. Among the incentives Benson got to stay was a chunk of property (which he purchased on the cheap and is now leasing it back to the city at higher-than-average rates) and the use of $85 million in state funds to refurbish the Louisiana Superdome.

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It all seemed like a great deal at the time. But now less than a year away and with the Saints no longer on the field to distract fans, they start to realize that things aren't as great as they seem. Ask Chef Who Dat and the  1,200 or so season-ticket holders in sections 639 through 641, which are being eliminated to for a new press box. Where are those seats going? They're moving down in the stands and up in price in the form of "3,100 plaza level seats, 16 new luxury boxes, premium club lounges and 43 additional food and drink stands accommodated by larger concourses in the Superdome."

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Granted, many of those seats and luxury boxes are being made available by refurbishing the old press box, but when the decision was made over a year ago when these plans were presented before the state legislature, it was clear the Saints had no problem letting go of 1,200 upper-deck tickets in exchange for millions from richer clientele down the line. Just ignore the devotion, time, and money spent by the 1,200 fans that bought season tickets before the Saints won the Super Bowl. Just forget about how those same fans' tax dollars (as well as the rest of the country's) is going to destroy their seats.

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Sadly, this is the way of sports today (really as far back as 20 years and likely well into the future). The Saints have the opportunity to become a billion-dollar franchise with a fancy stadium featuring modern amenities with a mini entertainment district surrounding it, all welcoming the Super Bowl with open arms in 2013. So what if in the process they eliminate a small percentage of season ticket holders and up the price for everyone else? That's called progress.

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