Today, Governor Bobby Jindal was joined by SMG Senior Vice President Doug Thornton, Chairman of the Louisiana Stadium and Exposition District Ron Foreman, state and local leaders, and officials with the Louisiana Stadium and Exposition District to mark the completion of $85 million in upgrades to the Superdome funded by the state as part of the lease agreement keeping the Saints in New Orleans through 2025.
Governor Jindal said, "Our 2009 Super Bowl Winning Saints taught us that with a lot of hard work and faith, we can meet and surpass even our own expectations. The Superdome is in the very heart of this city's history and character - a symbol that says no matter what challenges come before us, we can triumph in the face of overwhelming odds. Today is a great day for the Saints, the City of New Orleans and the entire state as we celebrate the completion of $85 million in upgrades to the Superdome. These improvements have transformed the Superdome into a state-of-the-art modern stadium -- at a fraction of the cost to taxpayers."
Gov. Jindal added that the facility has already secured events including the NCAA Final Four and the BCS National Championship Game in 2012, and the 2013 Super Bowl.
Saints Owner Tom Benson said, "The Louisiana Superdome is an iconic symbol for our city, state and region and the improvements to the interior and exterior of the building will make it the best facility in the NFL for our fans to enjoy our game. Add the Hyatt Regency and Champion Square to the mix and the Louisiana Superdome will represent the centerpiece of a world class renaissance to a world class city."
New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu said, "For generations, the Superdome has been an economic driver for our city and state. Over the next 18 months, the city and this transformed Superdome will be on the world stage hosting major events from the Final Four to the Super Bowl."
The Superdome improvements were completed in two off-seasons, delivered on time, on budget, and included major improvements to the building, such as a new press box, a new Saints locker room, a new team store, new sideline seating, an expanded Plaza Level concourse, new premium bunker club lounges, and improvements to the exterior plaza.
This last phase of improvements concludes a six-year span of rebuilding, renovation, and upgrades to the Superdome after Hurricane Katrina. The entire multi-phase Superdome rebuilding effort, including the remediation from Hurricane Katrina and all upgrades through 2011, cost a total of $336 million, of which $156 million was funded with federal recovery funding.
Compared to other new state-of-the-art stadiums like Lucas Oil Stadium (2008 - $720 million), Cowboys Stadium (2009 - $1.3 billion), and the New Meadowlands Stadium (2010 - $1.6 billion), the new 2011 Superdome was a true bargain, said SMG Senior Vice President Doug Thornton whose company manages the Superdome.
"The new Superdome makes us competitive with every other market in the United States for many years to come," SMG Senior Vice President Doug Thornton says. "After Katrina, we had a strategic vision to recreate the building into an ultra-modern stadium that would accomplish numerous objectives, including re-igniting a major economic engine, securing the Saints long-term, and returning an icon to the New Orleans skyline."
Thornton says the new state-of-the-art facility makes New Orleans a viable destination for major events such as the Super Bowl, the BCS Championship Game, the Final Four, and Essence Festival.
Since the Superdome reopened in 2006, the events held at the facility have had a total fiscal impact of $4.1 billion on the Louisiana economy, according to a study by the University of New Orleans' Division of Business Economic Research. By the end of the current Saints lease in 2025, every dollar spent on Superdome repairs and enhancements will return 58 new dollars to the state.
"We've created a thriving entertainment complex in downtown New Orleans," says Ron Forman, Chairman of the Louisiana Stadium and Exposition District, the government appointed board charged with overseeing operations of the Superdome and surrounding area. "With the new Superdome and Champions Square, we expect to see New Orleans grow as one of the great hubs for sports and entertainment. This was money well spent."