The Mercedes-Benz Superdome in New Orleans soon could become the first NFL stadium named after a casino company.
The longtime home of the NFL’s New Orleans Saints is close to reaching an agreement with Nevada-based Caesars Entertainment, Inc. for the naming rights, according to the Athletic’s Jeff Duncan.
Greg Bensel, senior vice president of communications for the Saints and NBA’s New Orleans Pelicans, said this week that there is nothing “official to report, as there is not a signed deal with any company at this time.”
We continue to have conversations with numerous interested companies,” he told the New Orleans newspaper site nola.com.
Caesars spokeswoman Kate Whiteley said the company “has long had strong ties to New Orleans, the state of Louisiana, and the entire Gulf Coast region.”
“We are proud of our continued partnership with both the Saints and the Pelicans,” she said in a statement published on the nola.com website. “However, we have nothing to share beyond our current, valuable relationship with the teams.”
The Caesars casino brand extends across the country, including the land-based Harrah’s New Orleans Hotel and Casino. It is the only land-based casino in the state. The resort is undergoing a renovation and will be rebranded as Caesars New Orleans. Louisiana also is home to 13 riverboat casinos and four racinos. Several of these casinos were battered during the hurricane season last summer and fall.
In 2011, German automaker Mercedes-Benz signed a 10-year Superdome naming-rights contract reportedly worth up to $60 million, according to nola.com. The car company announced last May it would not seek to renew the contract.
Casino Arena Names
The only NFL stadium named after a company that has casinos is in South Florida, where the Hard Rock Stadium is home to the Miami Dolphins. However, the 2016 naming agreement prohibits any references to gambling, according to nola.com.
Two non-NFL professional sports arenas are affiliated with casinos.
One is the Gila River Arena in Glendale, Ariz., home of the NHL’s Arizona Coyotes. This arena’s name is the result of an agreement with the Gila River Indian Community and Gila River Casinos, according to the arena website.
The other is an arena at the Mohegan Sun Casino in Uncasville, Conn. That arena is home to the WNBA’s Connecticut Sun.
Pistol Pete’s Former Home
The Superdome opened in 1975 and has been associated with the Saints since then. The team played its inaugural game at Tulane Stadium on September 17, 1967, and continued playing at the campus stadium in New Orleans until 1974.
Beginning in 1975, the Saints have played most home games at the Superdome.
However, after Hurricane Katrina struck the region in 2005, the Saints played four home games at Tiger Stadium on the LSU campus in Baton Rouge. The team that year also played a home game in New Jersey at Giants Stadium and in San Antonio at the Alamodome.
The New Orleans Jazz, featuring former LSU star “Pistol” Pete Maravich, played home games in the Superdome before relocating to Salt Lake City, Utah and becoming the Utah Jazz.
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