The Jeffersonian: Politicks, Sports, and Culture

Thursday, October 13, 2005

Ah Crap

The wrong thing to say, at the wrong time, directed at the wrong location:

Glowing over news of the first Alamodome sellout for the New Orleans Saints, Mayor Phil Hardberger on Thursday plunged into the potentially explosive issue of where the team will play in 2006.

San Antonio, Hardberger said, is the only sensible answer.

He called the alternative site, Baton Rouge, La., "a disaster for the Saints."

And the question about whether San Antonio can support an NFL team, Hardberger said, has been answered by the city's strong demand for Saints tickets.

...

The Saints say only about 30,000 of the 79,000 tickets available for the New Orleans-Miami game have been sold. Tickets went on sale Sept. 23.

"The truth is, Baton Rouge has been a disaster for the Saints," Hardberger said. "San Antonio has been a success."

Big mistep by the mayor. While the numbers show sluggish ticket sales (in about the same time span, San Antonio had sold about 50,000 tickets) for a match-up that pits the Saints against former LSU coach Nick Saban, that's just not the thing you want to say right now.

The mayor just needs the numbers to speak for themselves in these four Baton Rouge games while also trying to improve ticket sales for the December 24 Saints game- the last time I heard we had sold 25,000 tickets- against the Detriot Lions. I really do think the Saints will end up playing their 2006 season here. As this article goes on to state, there are a whole lot of people who don't think the Superdome will be ready by then. And the jury's still out if it will ever be playable. The most recent estimates have the Arena and the Superdome (not very creative names by the way) costing upwards of $400 million to refurbish.

Let's act like the big-time city that we are and just let everything unfold. We know we've got the most attractive offer for the Saints' near-term future, but one surefire way to lose the PR war is to walk around calling Baton Rouge a disaster.