State should take hard line with Saints
posted Wednesday, February 14th, 2007 @ 10:09 pm
Once again the issue of the New Orleans Saints' contract with the state, which is scheduled to expire in 2010, reared its ugly head earlier this week in an exchange between members of the media and Gov. Kathleen Blanco.
Following a meeting of the Louisiana Recovery Authority, Blanco acknowledged to reporters that her aides have been in touch with Saints officials about resuming negotiations on a new contract to keep the National Football League team in Louisiana.
Off the top, we suspect Saints officials, led by team owner Tom Benson, believe an opportunity exists for the Saints to extract a more lucrative contract from the state to keep them in the Big Easy beyond 2010. Certainly, the success the Saints enjoyed in the 2006 season played a role in the state and Saints officials talking about a new contract.
That's all speculation, though it's probably not far off the mark.
When the Saints' contract with the state ends in 2010, the taxpayers of Louisiana will have spent some $186.5 million, including the construction of a new practice facility, on Benson's organization. The current contract was initiated in 2001.
That's the most lucrative contract--cash-wise--any professional football team in America has been awarded by its home state.
While we recognize the importance of New Orleans serving as the home for an NFL team, we must ask ourselves at what price do the Saints become a luxury we can't afford?
Blanco should ask that question as well.
Whatever it is Benson wants, the state shouldn't give the man any more money in cash payments or the like to keep his ball club in New Orleans.
If he starts threatening to move his team again, as he did the last time the state and the Saints discussed the team's contract, let him go.