The Mercedes-Benz Superdome's governing body has reportedly received positive news regarding a stadium upgrade project that will help keep the New Orleans Saints in the city.
According to Anthony McAuley of the Times-Picayune, the State Bond Commission in Louisiana issued clearance to sell up to $350 million in bonds to help fund the project.
McAuley called it a "major step for the $450 million stadium makeover" that will be "a key part of talks to keep the Saints in New Orleans for the next several decades."
The Mercedes-Benz Superdome, which was previously known as the Louisiana Superdome, is a staple of the New Orleans skyline and has hosted games since 1975. In addition to Saints contests, the famous stadium was home to Super Bowls XII, XV, XX, XXIV, XXXI, XXXVI and XLVII, as well as Sugar Bowls at the collegiate level.
It could serve as the epicenter of the football world in January 2020 with the College Football Playoff national title game scheduled for Jan. 13 and a potential NFC Championship Game scheduled for Jan. 19. The Saints would have to advance that far for the second consecutive year after falling to the Los Angeles Rams in last season’s conference title game.
The initial phase of the renovation project is scheduled to begin after the college football championship game or the NFC Championship Game.
McAuley noted that first phase is expected to cost $100 million and include the installation of additional escalators and elevators in addition to a kitchen and food-service area currently occupied by a parking lot.
The report broke down the financing deal, pointing out the Saints agreed to fund one-third of the costs with the Louisiana Stadium and Exposition District funding $210 million through bonds. If needed, the state will cover the other $90 million.