Saints, New Orleans Nearing New Superdome Lease, Renovation Contract

Kyle Newport@@KyleNewportFeatured ColumnistMay 2, 2019

New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees (9) reacts to fans after an NFL football game against the Los Angeles Rams in New Orleans, Sunday, Nov. 4, 2018. The Saints won 45-35. (AP Photo/Bill Feig)
Bill Feig/Associated Press

The New Orleans Saints are nearing a 10-year extension with the state of Louisiana that would keep the team at the Superdome through 2035, with a $450 million renovation for the stadium as part of the deal, according to Jeff Duncan of the Times-Picayune.

The current lease runs through 2025.

A new visiting team locker room, a new standing-room only section, additional suites and expanded concourses are among the renovations planned for the stadium.

The proposed renovation project would feature $207 million from the Louisiana Stadium and Exposition District, $150 million from the Saints and $93 million from the state of Louisiana. The proposal still needs to be approved by the state bond commission, however.

The Superdome opened in August 1975 and has been the home of the Saints ever since, although the team was briefly relocated for the 2005 season because of Hurricane Katrina. 

New Orleans has had one of the best home-field advantages in the NFL at the Superdome in recent years. With the building more than four decades old, though, team and stadium officials believe there is a need to modernize the stadium.

"We felt like if we're going to preserve the life of the Superdome and have it remain competitive for another 20, 25 years, then we need to do something transformative," SMG vice president of stadiums Doug Thornton said, per Duncan. "We're changing the infrastructure compared to what we've done in the past [renovations]. It's not just putting lipstick on it."

Saints president Dennis Lauscha added, per Duncan: "The building has to be modernized so we can improve the fan experience. This is basically a wash for us financially."

A survey conducted by the LSED in January showed that 78 percent of Louisiana residents were in favor of a renovation over building a new stadium, according to Duncan. Officials reportedly estimate that a new stadium would cost over $1 billion more than the renovations.

The Superdome has played host to a record seven Super Bowls and is in line to host Super Bowl LVIII in February 2024. It has also played host to college football's Sugar Bowl since 2007 and is scheduled to be the site of the 2020 College Football Playoff Championship Game. It will also host the men's Final Four in 2022.

If approved, the plan would be for the renovations to be completed before Super Bowl LVIII.