Thursday, December 29, 2005

Would Louisiana be better off without the Saints? :

The Saints are contractually obligated to remain in the city until 2010, with the state paying them more than $180 million to do so. But there are ways out of that contract. After the 2006 season, the Saints can pay Louisiana $81 million to leave town. And because of a clause in the contract, the Saints can leave without penalty if the Superdome is unusable.

The NFL will announce in the next week where they will practice and play for 2006, league spokesman Greg Aiello says.

'We would like to have the Saints play as many games as possible in New Orleans next year,' Aiello says.

But even if the Saints leave, the Superdome is a moneymaker for the city. Events and meetings keep the building occupied 45 to 50 weekends a year. That's why Gov. Kathleen Blanco has said rebuilding the Superdome is a priority.

'In some ways, the state might be better off without the Saints,' Tulane's Roberts says. 'They are expensive, and the building remains a magnet . . . "

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