The iconic Mercedes-Benz Superdome will soon have a new look and name after 2021. This landmark has held many legendary events, including New Orleans Saints games in its 46-year history. The venue hosted Super Bowls, NCAA Basketball with Michael Jordan's final shot to LSU's Joe Burrow college football championship, Bayou Classics, boxing spectaculars with great fighters like Muhammad Ali and Sugar Ray Leonard. Fans traveled world-wide to witness The Rolling Stones, Prince, Essence Festivals, Republican National Convention, and Pope Paul II in this arena. The Superdome may have been a part of the New Orleans skyline, but also a part of the world's history for more than four decades.
New Orleans, LA - In February, before the COVID-19 pandemic hit the New Orleans area, I interviewed Mike Hoss, the ASM Global/LSED (formally SMG) Communications Coordinator. I inquired with Hoss about the impact the pandemic would have on the Superdome’s renovations.
Hoss was candid in sharing what fans can expect after the completion of renovations before the Saints take the field for preseason games.
“You know we live in a right-now society. This is a 4-year renovation project. The plan is to remove the ramps on the east and the west sides to open up the concourse a little and provide more space. The North and South ramps will remain. When it is all said and done, you will get on an escalator and not have to go to 100, 200, 300, and above sections [in the Superdome]. The escalator will take you to your destination as opposed to going to each level.”
“It’s about modernizing the amenities that our dome has, making it more competitive yet not losing the character. So, the renovations and changes will be gradual. When you come to the dome next Fall, you will not see a lot of amazing, cool changes. We are installing the infrastructure for the enabling package. The first phase is to build a foundation.”
Can Saints fans look forward to upgrades in the food, beverage, and concession areas?
“A part of removing the ramp system is to open up areas for new food options. Part of the plan is to have a centralized commissary. You will purchase food all in one place with many more options for different vendors.”
Are there plans for locker room updates?
“Yes. The visitor’s locker rooms will be removed and relocated to the southwest corner. Visitors will come in on the southeast corner and we will add additional locker rooms. This allows the Superdome to host multiple events [at the same time] such as Final Fours, NCAA basketball, and even high school playoff games.”
The Superdome’s naming rights are renewed in 2021. How will the renovations impact the new name for the Mercedes Benz Superdome?
“I believe the renovations will help. You know Mercedes Benz has a deal with Atlanta and they are headquartered there. I will not speak for the Saints, but they will have a much newer building with upgraded amenities.
If you had to close out the interview with what you are most excited about what would that be?
"When the Superdome was being designed, most buildings were built to last 30 years. That was the shelf life. That was Katrina for us. So now we are in the middle of our second lifetime of 30 years and hoping to increase that by 25 or 30 more years. I would like Saints fans to know that this update is a marathon to the finish line and not a sprint. With great expectation, it will be done, and the renovations will be done right. I want to stress the importance of being patient.”
New Orleans Saints and Pelicans Owner Gayle Benson expressed her view in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome's renovation project:
Governor Jon Bel Edwards stated his intent to invest in the state-of-the-art facility, so the Superdome project was dubbed “ENVISION THE FUTURE”.
On April 17, 2020, the Saints and State of Louisiana began working towards an agreement that will keep the Saints in Louisiana through 2035. The $450 million renovations of the Superdome was a pivotal piece of the deal. The deal would extend the current lease agreement with the state and the Saints for another ten years. The team and Superdome officials agreed that the renovations are necessary to modernize the facility as a competitive venue for the next 15-20 years.