Search This Blog


It's easy -- rename the Superdome the Super Bowl

This story has been kicking around for six months, right after the last session closed and the state barely got the New Orleans Saints their contractural payment. In fact, back then on PoliticsLa and more recently on BayouBuzz (although neither seems to have archived it) I ran this column, so I guess to make sure that everybody in the world can possibly see it, I reprint the latter version here (with one sentence added):

BATON ROUGE -- Frustrated at the inability of the state to sell naming rights to the stadium formerly known as the Louisiana Superdome, yesterday Gov. Kathleen Blanca issued an executive order renaming the structure the Super Bowl.

For awhile it had appeared that the state would have to go with some kinds of tax raises to fully fund a deal that during the previous Foster administration had been made between the state and the main tenant of the Super Bowl, the New Orleans Saints, to pay off the team $15 million a year to stay in the city. In 2004, however, the state had to cough up about $13 million of this to prevent going into default which would allow the Saints to leave without penalty. Part of the shortfall came because naming rights estimated at $4 million a year have not been sold.

Blanca’s move was another way of spurring economic development in the state, she asserted. “While we are waiting for some fine corporate citizen to fork over millions of dollars a year for the right to name a building few people hear about, this renaming will prove to attract business to the state like mosquitoes to one of those zapping things we see in a lot of yards but which nobody really knows the name of them so they call them something like ‘bug zappers,’” she said.

“By renaming the building the ‘Super Bowl,’ the National Football League, to avoid brand confusion, will feel compelled to have the game of the same name here each and every year,” she testified. “Economic studies have shown that the Super Bowl game is worth hundreds of millions of dollars to a local economy and should enable a payback to the Saints with ease.”

Asked whether she anticipated that the NFL might sue over a trademark infringement by use of that name, Blanca retorted, “It’s a building we’ve named; it’s not a game we’ve pilfered. Did anybody sue Tulane when they played in the Sugar Bowl? Besides, with the civil law emphasis to our legal code plus judges who run for election who would get pulverized at the ballot box faster than Aaron Brooks hanging in a dissolving pocket, if they ever ruled against something that could help the Saints out, we could tie the NFL up in court until the cows come home so I don’t think they’ll challenge us on this.”

When reminded that trademarks would be a matter for federal court in Washington, Blanca retorted, “If the NFL is that foolish, I’ll issue an executive order preventing Louisianans from participating in such an unfair league. Over 10 percent of starting quarterbacks in the Super Bowl game have been Louisianans; how foolish would it be for them to cut off a prime source of QB’s in their premier game?”

Blanca also pointed out that with the new name the NFL may feel obligated to have the Saints be one of the two teams to play in the game of the same name every year. “It wouldn’t be right to have the home team of the Super Bowl not play in the Super Bowl for the Super Bowl,” she opined. With this advantage, she argued that attendance and television exposure, thus revenues for the team, would go up, making the Saints stay in New Orleans more economically viable, and would reduce the state’s financial exposure.

When told of the governor’s remarks, Saints sportscaster Buddy Hackett said, “I’m going to go out on a limb and predict that the Saints will play in the Super Bowl next year. To be honest with you, it’s probably the only way they’ll ever play in the Super Bowl.” Hackett also added, “But what really impresses me is the governor’s knowledge about football. I think that state law granting state officials preferential access to athletic event tickets, as well as subsidized ticket transportation by the state police, is working wonders.”

Questioned if the state can forgo the $4 million estimated to be received for naming rights now at least temporarily off the table, Blanca pointed out that “I campaigned promising economic development would be a top priority, and since taking office a year ago I already have given away now nearly a hundred million dollars of projected state monies in economic incentives to concerns like getting 10 jobs at tank car manufacturers and a few more at pool companies in order to save Louisiana jobs and even to create some new ones. I would give away billions to keep jobs in this state. So what’s $4 million?”

House Speaker Rep. Joe Pepper echoed Blanca’s sentiments. “Doubting the governor’s wisdom on this issue is so typical, all these busybody critics of our fine, efficient government. Try to give a hardworking committee vice chair a raise and they jump all over you. Give away $25 million annually through the Urban and Rural Development Funds and they pound you. It’s only $4 million, after all – not even ‘real’ money. If they get upset about that, wait until they see how much more we caused the state to owe in future years by stringing out payback on our underfunded pensions.”

When informed of the governor’s comments, former Gov. Mike “Murphy” Foster said, “I’m disappointed. All of this selling of and traveling outside of and fussing about the state and economic development tell me this woman’s been riding one too many motorcycles without a helmet. Out of my way, I’m late to some ducks’ early funerals.”

(Sadly, a week after this last ran, longtime New Orleans sportcaster Buddy Diliberto died.)

No comments: