Go Back   Sports Central Message Boards > Professional Sports Discussion > National Football League

Thread Tools Display Modes
Old 02-05-2001, 04:32 PM   #1
Rookie Player
Join Date: Nov 2000
Location: New Orleans
Posts: 13
30X90 is on a distinguished road

After going 11-7,unseating the Rams in the Wildcard round and then losing to the Vikes in the Divisional round you'd think Saints fans would be cheerful.
Well,we're facing a situation like Arizona did earlier this year when the people voted to approve Proposition 302 to fund a new stadium for the Cardinals.

This article is from the Sunday edition of the Times-Picayune in New Orleans.

Small market a liability in NFL, Saints say
Team tells local leaders it needs more than new stadium or lease
By Stewart Yerton
Business writer/The Times-Picayune
When Arnold Fielkow, the New Orleans Saints' director of administration, met with political leaders from the region last week, the conversation went beyond the team's highly publicized fight with the Superdome and potential bid for a new stadium.
Central to the talk was an analysis of the New Orleans football market. The conclusion: The problem isn't just the Superdome, it's the New Orleans area, which trails most of the Saints' NFL competitors in terms of population and prosperity.
"It is not just a stadium issue," said Gregory O'Brien, chancellor of the University of New Orleans and chairman of MetroVision's Council on Government, to which Fielkow made his closed-door presentation on Tuesday. "It is a matter of trying to address all aspects of the market."
Fielkow did not tell the group how the Saints proposed to do this. That will come after Tom Benson, the Saints' owner, meets with Gov. Foster this week. But Fielkow's presentation did shed light on the issues the team will bring to the debate as it bids for concessions from the state. And it made clear that, at least according to team officials, a stadium alone will not solve the team's problems.
Bill Hines, a New Orleans lawyer and chairman of MetroVision, recalled Fielkow saying that even if a new stadium were built, the Saints might come back to the state for more concessions in a few years unless the team, politicians and business leaders can craft ways for the team to deal with the fact that all but a handful of other NFL teams play in markets that are bigger and richer.
"They have concluded that our marketplace per se probably can't keep up" with other NFL markets, said Hines, who was one of about 15 to 20 political and civic leaders at Tuesday's meeting at the City Energy Club at the Energy Centre office building on Poydras Street.
Fielkow declined to comment.
A question of growth
When the Saints began play in 1967, New Orleans was an emerging major league market. Within a few years, an NBA basketball team arrived in town and construction began on the Superdome, which was envisioned as the home of the Saints and a major league baseball team.
But the city failed to enjoy the kind of growth that blessed the rest of the South, and the exodus of large corporations made New Orleans a less vibrant sports town.
Now that dynamic has begun to impact the Saints' standing in relation to other pro clubs. In 1997 the Saints ranked 12th among 31 NFL teams in Forbes magazine's survey of team finances. Moreover, the Saints' operating profit was $18.5 million, or more than three times the league average of $5.3 million. The Saints at the time disputed Forbes' figures.
Since then, however, the Saints have plummeted in the Forbes ranking. The Saints dropped from 12th in 1997 to 26th in the 1999 survey, after posting two poor seasons under former head coach Mike Ditka. Although the survey reported revenue growth from $80.9 million in 1997 to $104.6 million in 1999, operating income dropped by almost 50 percent to $9.9 million.
Fielkow declined to share the details of the presentation made last week to the MetroVision group as well as members of the New Orleans Business Council. However, data from the U.S. Census Bureau and market analysts illustrate what team officials mean when they say the New Orleans market is small:
-- Based on population, the New Orleans metro area ranks 27th of 31 NFL cities with 1.3 million residents, according to 1999 Census Bureau data. Furthermore, population growth between 1990 and 1999 was virtually flat.
-- The New Orleans broadcast market encompasses about 1.7 million people, according to the 2000 market survey by Sales and Marketing Management magazine, a trade publication for marketing professionals. That made New Orleans the nation's 42nd largest media market, smaller than San Antonio and Portland, Ore., both of which have been mentioned as cities that might try to lure the Saints. Portland's market includes 2.7 million people, while San Antonio's has just less than 2 million. Only Buffalo, Jacksonville and Green Bay were smaller among NFL cities.
-- New Orleans is the poorest NFL media market based on household buying power; the city's average household disposable income of $30,700 ranked the New Orleans market 129th nationally, according to S&MM.
-- New Orleans has the dubious distinction of being one of four NFL cities without a Fortune 500 company headquarters. Although Fortune's last survey listed New Orleans with one such company, Entergy Corp., the utility plans to move its headquarters to Florida as part of a merger with the parent of Florida Power & Light Co.
Battle of the lease
The Saints entered their current lease with the state-owned Superdome in 1994. Since then, several other NFL teams have moved into new stadiums, struck lucrative new deals with their landlords, or both. This, combined with poor attendance in 1997 and 1998, caused the Saints to slide in revenue.
Last month, in what appeared to be a first shot in a negotiating battle, the Saints accused the Superdome of violating the lease, which locks the team into the Dome until 2018, though it can leave earlier by paying penalties.
In Tuesday's meeting, Fielkow did provide some insight into how the Saints plan to solve their problems, said Jefferson Parish President Tim Coulon, who is also vice chairman of MetroVision's Council on Government.
Coulon recalled that Fielkow said the Saints will try to become more of a regional team and will "take a hard look at themselves and how they (market) themselves."
The team may also look to smaller businesses for the support that teams in Atlanta or Houston might enjoy from Fortune 500 firms.
Little guys help out
Despite the lack of big companies, the Saints receive support from smaller public companies, such as Hibernia National Bank and Stewart Enterprises Inc., both of which rent luxury suites at the Superdome. Entergy now rents one suite and plans to rent another for next season, a company spokesman said.
In addition, Entergy and Hibernia both stepped up last season to buy blocks of tickets to ensure that games would sell out and therefore be broadcast on New Orleans TV.
Hines said there is enough wealth in New Orleans to support the Saints.
"There still are a number of privately owned Louisiana companies that have the financial wherewithal to, if they choose to do it, support the Saints," Hines said. "They would just have to decide . . . that it's worth it to them."
Hines compared losing the Saints to a financially strapped family selling an heirloom to pay bills. If New Orleans loses the team, he said, getting it back will be hard if not impossible.
"Once it's gone, it's gone," Hines said.
. . . . . . .
Stewart Yerton can be reached at (504) 826-3495 or at [email protected]
30X90 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-05-2001, 07:24 PM   #2
Marc's Avatar
Join Date: Nov 2000
Location: Lake Wylie, SC
Posts: 26,549
Marc will become famous soon enough

I think it would be a shame for the NFL to take away football from New Orleans. Not only is The Big Easy a good place to hold Super Bowls because of the party atmosphere and warm climate, but because the city does have good fans - when the Saints started winning, it showed.
Marc James - SCMB Administrator | Sports Central Managing Editor & Founder
Teams: [Kentucky Wildcats] [Green Bay Packers] [Charlotte Hornets]
Follow on Twitter: @mnjames | @sportcentral
Marc is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-06-2001, 06:45 AM   #3
Rookie Player
Join Date: Nov 2000
Location: New Orleans
Posts: 13
30X90 is on a distinguished road
Default Speaking of Superbowls...

New Orleans hosts its' 9th in 2002,more than any other city.We are hoping the Saints can make a run at being the first "home" team to play in a Superbowl.

Mr. Benson meets with Gov. Foster tomorrow to see what the state can do to help.The Saints,as everyone knows,play in the Superdome which is a state owned facility that Benson has to lease to play in.Additionally,Benson has to split all revenues with the state,whereas teams that own their own stadiums keep that revenue for themselves.

The shared revenue from tv rights should be around 70 million per team ths year,but the real sticking point for Benson is the UNSHARED revenue that other owners get to keep and use to hire top free agents.
...things like box seats and luxury suites,naming rights,signage and advertising,personal seat licenses,concessions,parking,etc....

The problem is trying to convince legislators in "small town La.". that it is in the states best interest to keep the Saints in New Orleans.

Personally,I would HATE to see them leave,but Mr. Benson has to have access to the same money that every other owner in the league has access to without having to split it with the state.

apologies for the long posts...I suppose this stuff is only of interest to Saints fans...
30X90 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-06-2001, 09:02 AM   #4
Tom Baker
Grizzled Veteran
Join Date: Nov 2000
Location: Atlanta
Posts: 154
Tom Baker is on a distinguished road

Moving teams from city to city makes sports seem more mercenary. Sports is business, and owners have the right to maximize their profits, I guess...but it just seems wrong, far more wrong than players switching teams via free agency. If the team itself can pull up stakes and move, why get behind them? I've really come to understand how the people in Cleveland feel lately. Fortunately I don't care enough about Atlanta's teams to worry about them leaving--it would probably be a favor if another city would take the Falcons off our hands, to be honest--but if you've grown up rooting for a team and stuck with them through thick and thin, seeing them leave can probably rip your heart out.

"You've got to escape / It's no crime, so escape..." - Pearl Jam
Tom Baker is offline   Reply With Quote


Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 members and 1 guests)
Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump

All times are GMT -4. The time now is 07:39 AM.