Blanco Says Benson Needs to Shorten Wish List - WAFB 9 News Baton Rouge, Louisiana News, Weather, Sports

Blanco Says Benson Needs to Shorten Wish List

The New Orleans Saints may have backed off their demands for a new stadium, but they are now requesting the state build several new facilities on top of renovating the Superdome. 

In a proposal presented Wednesday at the NFL teams' Metairie practice facility, Saints owner Tom Benson said, "Let me make this very clear, I don't want to move and I don't want to sell. We have three choices: We can either build a new stadium; Extend or enhance the approach of the second part that was presented today; or you can tell us to leave."

Plan two calls for the renovation of the Superdome and financial inducements -- which translates to payments from the state to the Saints. That would seal a deal with between Louisiana and the Saints until 2020.

"I am as committed today to this community as I was when I bought the team 20 years ago. It is my sincere hope that we can reach a long-term solution and in the time table presented today," said Benson.

In response to the teams request Blanco said:

"I am pleased that Mr. Benson has warmed up to my original proposal of renovating the Superdome.  I am also glad to hear that the Saints want to stay in New Orleans for the long term.

"Of course, these negotiations have been and always will be about the money, and I heard very little discussion of that in Mr. Benson's proposal."

"My position remains clear: I would like the Saints to remain in New Orleans and play in a renovated Superdome.  I believe that the franchise should help pay for these renovations and that the state's lease with the team should be restructured to move away from paying cash inducements and toward providing the team with enhanced opportunities to earn revenues in a renovated Superdome.  I also believe that any additional revenues which may be required to cover gaps in financing an agreement should be generated in the Greater New Orleans region.

"I anticipate making my own proposal to Mr. Benson in the coming weeks.  I believe that addressing the core issues I've listed above will be challenging enough without also having to address the significant costs to the state represented by all the other "extras" included in the Saints proposal today, unless, of course, the Saints want to pay for those things themselves."

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