NEW ORLEANS, La. (WVUE) -What would normally be Saints turf at center field is now a staging center for supplies. Superdome renovation crews are working hard to install 4 staircases as well as 2 freight elevators.
“Today, it’s expected to be complete prior to beginning of saints football season as it stands right now,” said Superdome spokesperson Mike Hoss.
But the future of much else at New Orleans' big arenas and stadiums is still very uncertain.
“A big hit for this group was losing Essence and Voodoo and Jazz Fest that would’ve been this fall, but we certainly understand. Now that tries to get moved into 2021 and you have a lot of other entities jockeying for that position,” said Hoss.
The Superdome, Smoothie King center, and Champions Square have all taken a financial hit from the coronavirus. Spokesperson, Mike Hoss says that’s in line with what’s happening across the country, but he says the budget is looking even more uncertain considering one of the main sources of money, the hotel/ motel tax is all but dried up.
Hoss estimates that will put them down by as much as 20 million dollars next year.
“That’s a figure, that’s a projection that’s a model, we hope that it’s not that but we could be down as much as $20 million fiscal year ‘21 with the hotel motel tax,” said Hoss.
“We’re at a position where occupancy for the foreseeable future will be very low,” said New Orleans and Company Mark Romig.
There are an estimated 48 thousand hotel rooms in the greater New Orleans area. But according to Romig, half of those hotel buildings, not even rooms, are closed and the other half have very few guests. Romig says this is an undeniable hit to the city’s bottom line, and the agencies and workers that rely on that tourism pipeline.
“This industry employs 98,000 people from around the region an our job in New Orleans and company, our principal job is to be the sales and marketing to get that spending back in our community… there’s going to be a lot of pent up at desire to experience and get out once we can so we want to be ready with our messaging to invite people to come experience New Orleans,” said Romig.
Whatever the solution is on the other side of the curve, Romig says they’ll work hard to restore the city’s tourism industry which includes being ready to call another Saints game.
There is still a big question to how Saints games could look in the dome.
Hoss said that decision will be made with the advice from the NFL, other leaders and medical advisors.