NEW ORLEANS, La. (WVUE) - As the New Orleans Saints prepare for their first regular season game on Monday, Governor John Bel Edwards is feeling confident about reaching a new long-term deal with the team.
"I think you’re going to see a positive announcement within the next couple of weeks about a new long-term lease arrangement with the Saints that would keep them here,” said Edwards. “It’s my goal to keep them here for 30 years more and 15 of those years will be three, five-year extension terms that we would have as part of the deal.”
Wheels are already in motion for a major renovation of the Mercedes-Benz Superdome where the Saints play their home games. The governor is confident the work will be completed before New Orleans hosts the 2024 Super Bowl.
"We believe [with] the $450 million to renovate the Superdome, we’re going to be successful, that, that renovation will be complete before the Super Bowl. It’ll happen over the next three years,” said Edwards.
Jay Cicero, President and CEO of the Greater New Orleans Sports Foundation says upgrading the dome is necessary to keep the facility competitive.
“It is of the utmost importance and that's the first thing we get asked when we are meeting with owners of events and national governing bodies of sport, you know, what's going on with the Superdome, what's new at the Superdome?" said Cicero.
He said the Saints are critical to the dome’s ongoing success.
"I know that their contract doesn't expire for a few more years, but kudos to the state and the governor to have the foresight to say, let's do a renovation and tie it into a long-term extension for the Saints because keeping the Saints here and keeping them competitive is absolutely our number one priority,” Cicero said.
And the governor says before long, a new deal between the state and the team could be cemented.
"It’s the key to keeping the Saints here long-term and we also expect within the next couple of weeks we’ll be back in New Orleans to make that announcement with the Saints. I’m not getting too far out over our skis, but it is not final yet,” said Edwards.