New Orleans Saints Owner Tom Benson donates $11-million to Pro F - FOX 8 WVUE New Orleans News, Weather, Sports, Social

New Orleans Saints Owner Tom Benson donates $11-million to Pro Football Hall of Fame

Tom Benson, the owner of the New Orleans Saints, pledged two significant gifts totaling $11 million to the Pro Football Hall of Fame. The contribution is the largest gift by any individual in the Hall's 51-year history.

"Canton is the birthplace of football," Benson said in a statement. "Football has a very direct and strong connection to New Orleans. The game of football has served as a positive beacon in our city. It has given our citizens hope in tough trying times.

"My donation to the Pro Football Hall of Fame was an easy decision, it was a right decision and it was a decision that I believe will have great impact on the current game and help foster a better game in the future while also having direct and tangible impacts on the legends of our game with the Legends Landing."

Of the $11-million donated, ten million will go towards renovating Fawcett Stadium, which is located next door to the Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio. The stadium will be undergoing $24 million dollars in renovations. Once complete, it will be renamed Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium.

The remaining one million dollars will go towards the Hall of Fame's Legends Landing Program, which is a mixed-use residence that houses Hall of Famers and other retired NFL players and employees.

"Tom Benson's leadership has been instrumental in the NFL's success and growth for nearly 30 years as owner of the Saints, including more than 20 years as chairman of the league's Finance Committee," NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said. "His generous gift to the Hall of Fame will forever link Tom's legacy to the game he loves and to the legends who helped build it."

The stadium's renovation is part of a $250 million Hall of Fame Village master plan which consists of a sports and entertainment complex, a hotel, a youth football center, an athletic performance and safety center, a coaching academy an institute for integrity and officiating and an interactive fan experience.

"Tom Benson's leadership has been instrumental in the NFL's success and growth for nearly 30 years as owner of the Saints, including more than 20 years as chairman of the league's Finance Committee," NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said. "His generous gift to the Hall of Fame will forever link Tom's legacy to the game he loves and to the legends who helped build it."

The City of New Orleans is no stranger to Benson's donations. Since 2010, he has donated millions to Loyola University, Brother Martin High School, Ochsner Hospital, Tulane's Yulman Stadium and Team Gleason.

"While recognition for a gift like this is nice, it is not the point," Benson said. "The point is understanding what is behind the plans of the Hall of Fame village for me and once I learned them I wanted to play a role. As in any business I have been involved in whether it is the football business or the banking business or automobile business, it is important to me that I put more into it than I take out and I feel this small part I am playing here is my way of saying thank you to the great game of football."

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