August 8, 2010

Father of the Superdome, Dave Dixon, passes at 87

Dave Dixon, the businessman made the dream of a pro football franchise in New Orleans a reality, has died at the age of 87.

Dixon prompted then-Louisiana governor John McKeithen to endorse a plan to bring the building, and its team, to New Orleans.  A week after the team was awarded on All Saints Day, November 1, 1966, and with the momentum of opinion, the public voted to approve funding on November 8.

The state, at the beginning of a political and oil and gas industry golden age, built a world-class multipurpose center with public money.

Nine years after landing the franchise, the Superdome opened despite cost overruns and delays.  In its 45 year history, the Superdome has hosted five Super Bowls, three NCAA Final Four tournaments, two NCAA regionals, and hundreds of state high school football championships, Tulane University football games, conventions, shows and concerts.

Dixon also was a founder of the ill-fated USFL in 1982, though he sold his interest in the startup sports league before it folded after three seasons under Donald Trump's leadership.  The USFL was one of many sports startup concepts that Dixon was involved in, including the 23-year run of the World Championship Tennis tour, the precursor to the ATP, which Dixon co-founded with Lamar Hunt.

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