NFL breaks ground on Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium - FOX 8 WVUE New Orleans News, Weather, Sports, Social

NFL breaks ground on Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium

Groundskeepers paint Saints owner Tom Benson's name on the end-zone of the new stadium in Canton, Ohio. (Source: Pro Football Hall of Fame) Groundskeepers paint Saints owner Tom Benson's name on the end-zone of the new stadium in Canton, Ohio. (Source: Pro Football Hall of Fame)
CANTON, OH (WVUE) -

The NFL pre-season kicks off Sunday and even though the Saints won’t take the field, the Who Dat Nation will be well represented.

New Orleans Saints owner Tom Benson is the namesake for Canton, Ohio’s Hall of Fame Stadium. Benson was on hand for today’s ground breaking ceremony celebrating the renovated facility after pledging $11 million to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Fall of 2014.

Benson’s $11 million gift is the largest by any individual in the 51-year history of the HOF, according to the Saints.

“We have done great things in our city and today we can proudly present New Orleans as a city that is a role model to other communities. We are proud of that,” Benson said. “So when approached to make a donation to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio, I did not think long at all about why we should help.”

Benson said that as the birthplace of football, Canton carries a 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,” Benson said. “So football is very important, and the place that honors the birth of the game and honors the greats that have played the game – like our very own Rickey Jackson and Willie Roaf – is not only important to me, but important to our city.”

$10 million of the gift went to renovation of what was formerly known as Fawcett Stadium. The newly named Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium will host this Sunday’s pre-season opener featuring the Minnesota Vikings against the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Benson has owned the Saints for 30 years now and said he takes tremendous pride in how football has impacted the city of New Orleans.

“When I bought the Saints in 1985, I would have never dreamed how much the game of football would have impacted my life personally,” Benson said. “But more importantly, it has impacted the city of New Orleans, our fans, and generations of people and has served as a beacon of hope during tough times.

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