NEW ORLEANS — SEPTEMBER 25: An interior view of the field showing the New Orleans Saints logo, a … [+] fleur-de-lis, in the newly refurbished Superdome prior to the Monday Night Football game between the Atlanta Falcons and the New Orleans Saints on September 25, 2006 at the Superdome in New Orleans, Louisiana. Tonight’s game marks the first time since Hurricane Katrina struck last August, that the Superdome, which served as a temporary shelter to thousands of stranded victims in the wake of Katrina, has played host to an NFL game. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
It did not take long for the New Orleans Saints to cash in their stadium naming rights sponsor ticket. After a Louisiana State Joint Budget Committee voted and approved a 20-year sponsorship rights deal worth around $140 million without objection, the new name of Saints’ iconic home would be the Caesars Superdome once the contract is finalized. The team would receive all revenue from the deal.
The roughly $7 million per year is a slight raise on the previous deal with Mercedes-Benz. A deal with Caesars Entertainment CZR would be historic in finally branching the gambling industry with the NFL as the first casino to sponsor a stadium. Sports gambling in Louisiana was legalized in 47 parishes on November 2018 ballots, giving the Joint Budget Committee the leeway to authorize a sponsorship in a historically conservative state. Seventeen parishes kept online fantasy sports gambling illegal which costs millions in lost tax revenue.
Caesars Entertainment, Inc., operates Harrah’s Casino in New Orleans. It is a one-mile walk from the Superdome to the anchor property casino in the historic French Quarter. Considering the money owed to Louisiana from Caesers, and the tens of millions it does not have to pay after losing the tax case appeal to the State Supreme Court, the Louisiana Joint Legislative Committee on Budget has helped pave the road to continued profits for Caesars.
New Orleans Saints Vice President Greg Bensel released a statement after the vote declaring, “Today, the (JLCB) approved the naming rights convention for the Superdome. We would like to thank the committee members of the JLCB and specifically, Senator Mack “Bodi” White, Chairman of Finance, and Representative Jerome Zeringue, Chairman of Appropriations. In addition, we thank Senate President Page Cortez and Speaker of the House Clay Schexnayder for their leadership. This approval was a procedural step in securing the naming rights for the Superdome and now we move to finalize our partnership agreement. Once that is official, we will have a formal announcement.”
The New Orleans Saints and the State of Louisiana went decades before entertaining the idea of a Superdome stadium sponsor. The NFL has spent decades fighting off gambling interests all while being one of the most bet on professional sports leagues in the world. The renovations to the Superdome should be completed before the city hosts the Super Bowl 2024. Assuming the Caesars Superdome name is on the Super Bowl, it will be the most bet on Super Bowl game in history.
Or at least I’d bet on it. Likewise, the contract is not signed, but much like a bad money line spread, a scratched horse, or a late spin of the Roulette wheel, all bets are off concerning the Superdome’s next sponsor. Like all of those bright lights at the end of Canal Street, all signs point to Caesars.