NFL Governance and the Fate of the New Orleans Saints: Some Observations
Prior to 2005, New Orleans had struggled to retain its NFL franchise. The Saints remained in the city, despite an outdated stadium and small media market, only through generous direct public subsidies to the team. Paradoxically, the devastation wrought by Hurricane Katrina in September 2005 actually improved the short-term viability of the franchise by spurring an outpouring of local support for the team and by making relocation of the Saints politically untenable for the league. The long-term outlook for the team, however, appears grim. Already a small market, New Orleans’ population and business community has declined considerably due to Katrina. The NFL’s G-3 loan program for stadium construction is tapped out. Finally, the financial success of other NFL franchises has both raised the cost of fielding a competitive team and increased the value of the Saints as a target of relocation.
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