WWL Radio has a tour of the renovated Dome, which is just about completed and will look lot different to fans who go in for Saints games and other events in a couple of days…
This was a fairly expensive project, but even so it was a smart move from a fiscal standpoint…
Just walk around the first level of seating and you’ll see the difference, says Superdome commission chairman Ron Forman — you can see the field from just about anywhere on the concourse.
“It’s a much more open look into the field. The seats have been improved, the field has been improved,” said Forman. “And with all the upgrades that have taken place over the last four year…over $300 million renovation, we literally have a new stadium.”
That price tag of over $300 million is a bargain, says Superdome executive Doug Thornton. Thornton said after Hurricane Katrina, there was brief discussion of tearing down the Superdome and rebuilding from scratch. He says that would have been a costly mistake.
“Well the return on the investment is incredible. When you think about the money that would have been spent, had we had to replace this building entirely and spend over a billion dollars, so for a fraction of the cost, we’ve been able to extend the life of the Superdome, make it a better building, modernize it not only for the Saints but the other big events we have upcoming…the return on that investment is incredible to the taxpayers,” said Thornton. “It’s a home run for everybody.”
New stadiums for the Dallas Cowboys and New York Giants and New York Jets cost more than $1 billion. The Los Angeles City Council recently approved a tentative deal for a new stadium in excess of $1 billion.
The stadium building binge of the last couple of decades is over, without question, which means the threat of losing the Saints to some other city the people of Louisiana have been beaten over the head with is probably over as well. And the upgrades to the Dome should enable New Orleans to bring in a lot of big money-making events. Next April the Final Four will be in town, for example, and in February 2013 the Dome will host the Super Bowl after too long an absence.
Ready for football yet? We are. It’s been a LONG offseason.