May 30, 2002

Governor Foster: "We've Got a Deal"

On his radio program from WJBO studios in Baton Rouge, Mike Foster talked about the Saints contract issue and gave fans a definitive statement: "We've got a deal."

According to reports from the Associated Press, all that remains between the Saints and state are final paperwork issues, but that the agreement the team and the governor's office reached last year would soon be legal.

"A deal is a deal and I eagerly anticipate signing our new lease with the state and only wish we could have signed it sooner," Benson said in a short statement.

While the legislature approved the agreement in April, the final papers have not been signed, but will be soon.

The agreement is a ten-year contract with a buyout agreement after five years. Immediately, the state provided funds transferred from other New Orleans programs to fund an indoor practice facility for the team at their Airline Drive headquarters in Metairie. The facility, which won't be finished until December 2002, will also be used by the city's new Arena Football League franchise, which starts play in March 2003.

The agreement also commissioned a panel of over 50 local business and political leaders to study the feasibility of a new retractable-roof stadium for the Saints in the future, or a possible massive renovation of the Superdome.

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