New Orleans Saints: New name, new look for the Superdome

Marshon Lattimore #23 of the New Orleans Saints (Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images)
Marshon Lattimore #23 of the New Orleans Saints (Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images) /

It is a well-known fact that the New Orleans Saints team will see multiple new starters and new faces next season. Well documented are the retirement of Drew Brees as well as the release of high-priced talents Kwon Alexander and Janoris Jenkins.

But there will be other changes around the New Orleans Saints next season in the Superdome. The dome is in the midst of a $450 million renovation to bring upgrades to the building on which ground was broken nearly 50 years ago.

As one of the older facilities in the NFL, the dome has sought ways to keep the building up to the standards of the newer structures in the league and up to the level the NFL expects of its member organizations.

The New Orleans Saints will see many new faces in 2021, but that won’t be the only thing that gives this franchise a new identity.

Some of the prior changes have included more comfortable seating in the lower sections of the dome, sports bars, and expanded concourse areas. As well, the Saints added a much more dynamic scoreboard/video system that stretches well beyond the width of the field and end zones.

The Superdome was also late to the naming rights game, being called the Louisiana Superdome until ten years ago, when Mercedes-Benz took over a 10-year naming rights deal.

It was recently announced that the Dome is nearing a deal with Caesars Entertainment.

Caesars is the entertainment group behind Caesars Palace hotel and casino, as well as Paris Casino, Rio, the Flamingo in Las Vegas, and New Orleans’ own Harrah’s Casino and hotel. The deal would be worth a reported $10 million a year for the next 20 years.

This is obviously tremendously important to both parties as the Superdome will host its 8th Super Bowl in 2025 (the 11th in New Orleans, tying Miami for most times hosting) and is very likely to host another within the time frame of this deal.

For Caesars, it gives them an inroad to the NFL, which they will likely use to their advantage in future dealings with the league, including potentially a sports gaming deal.

The money in this deal helps offset the funding from the state of Louisiana and helps grow the Superdome and its function. The state allows the Saints to broker deals with the Superdome on behalf of the state as part of their agreement with the state as the primary tenants of the Dome.

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As well, the Superdome is now in fast-forward mode with wide-reaching changes. This offseason is seeing further expansion of concourses, the addition of field-level suites, removal of the spiral ramps, and corner viewing areas.

The 12 North End Zone field suites are modeled after other stadiums’ field-level suites, such as the ones in Los Angeles, Dallas, and Minnesota. These suites will each have 21-24 seats, and will feature a special menu and access to a VIP bar.

They will be the best suites in the Superdome and will put the fans right in the action.

The expanded concourses will make traveling around the dome much simpler. The expansion was done on the plaza level in recent years, and the new expansion will add space in other areas as well. The spiraling ramps are coming out and being replaced with elevators, escalators, and atriums.

Anyone walking down and around those ramps knows how tough they were to navigate. They had the function of being able to handle large numbers of people at once but were kind of steep for many and took forever to walk.

Also being added are new club lounges that will not only be available to football fans but will as well be available for corporate functions and receptions. These will be in addition to the Bunker Club lounges that already exist and have been a big hit with fans, as well as the other recently added lounges.

The one area that has caused consternation with Saints fans is the planned standing room-only corner viewing areas. An unknown number of seats (up to approximately 4,300 seats) will be removed to create viewing areas in several sections of the Superdome.

At this point in time, the Saints don’t have a definitive number but a large number of fans have been contacted and warned that their seats are likely not going to exist this coming season (this writer included).

The Saints have been in contact with the fans and insist they are going to do all things possible to ensure that season ticket holders are not left out in the cold, but as of this moment, there is no concrete plan of how to ensure this happens.

With an eye on the future, the Saints and the Superdome are stepping forward. While other places tear down and rebuild stadiums, the Superdome remains a grand dame of the NFL. She continues to redress herself and come back more beautiful and functional than before.

It’s one of the NFL’s favorite venues for Super Bowls due to the incredible infrastructure – the downtown location places it within easy walking distance of nearly 40,000 hotel rooms, the convention center, all the fine dining anyone could ask for, and French Quarter.

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With a new name and a new interior, the dome will be a strong venue for years to come.