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The Los Angeles Saints?…

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Remember you heard it here first. The rumor is spreading that owner Tom Benson has agreed to sell the Saints to an investment group in L.A. (that’s Los Angeles, not Louisiana). Benson was said to be livid about stories that he used state money, intended to subsidize the team, to subsidize his lavish lifestyle instead. The purchase of particular interest was Benson’s new 122-foot yacht, valued between $12 million and $20 million.

T-P reports that records show that “Benson Football, which three years ago signed a landmark deal with the state that promises the Saints $186.5 million in inducements over 10 years, owns what was ranked as the 190th largest yacht in America when it was completed in 2002. It’s unclear who paid for the boat…”

The team’s official attempt at misdirection came from spokesman Greg Bensel, who released a written statement that: “The real issue before us is not what Mr. Benson can afford, but whether the Saints will remain in New Orleans and be economically successful in this small NFL market against teams from much larger cities, such as the Philadelphia Eagles and New England Patriots who are playing in Super Bowl XXXIX.”

“The issue is whether the Saints will continue to have sufficient stadium revenues to remain competitive on the field within the NFL system and in a very tough NFL environment where 20 new or vastly renovated stadiums have been built through public-private partnerships in the last 13 years,” he said.

A few weeks ago, Louisiana Governor Kathleen Blanco said the team should open its financial books to scrutiny as team and state officials try to negotiate a long-term agreement to keep the Saints in the city. The Saints have long refused to do that or discuss the team’s profits. Blanco was reported to be “very surprised” to learn that Benson Football, controlling partner of New Orleans’ NFL franchise, owns a yacht, according to a spokeswoman.

Did he say remain competitive? Let us know what you think about these developments.

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About John Vinturella

Retired businessman and professor.
  • RJ

    “Did he say remain competitive?”

    The Saints were relatively competitive this season, in the dismal NFC…

  • I wouldn’t mind seeing the Saints move to LA. I’m a transplant here and rarely get to see my NY Giants on television. A new LA team would give me reason to care about football most weeks.

    Side question: which Manning brother will win a Super Bowl ring first? (heh heh…)

  • RJ

    “Side question: which Manning brother will win a Super Bowl ring first? (heh heh…)”

    Can I vote “neither”? 😉

  • The Giants actually have a pretty decent core to build upon if they can get their D revamped with Tiki, Shockey, Toomer, and a maturing Eli. I wouldn’t count younger bro out.

    Another side question: what’s TO’s status for The Show? I haven’t been paying attention…

  • RJ

    “what’s TO’s status for The Show? I haven’t been paying attention…”

    Well, he wants to play. But I think the doctors will prevent that…

  • L.Cue

    wow, that might mess things up for the Saints who did have a decent year. would hate to see moves and shuffles mess up the Saints.

    As long as the Jets don’t go anywhere, I’m fine. Doug Brien can go to you know where.

  • Mr. Fab

    As the self appointed “LA’s Last NFL Fan”, I heartily welcome the ‘Aints to Angel City. I will do my darnedest to obsessively follow & support the next NFL team here. I take this news here of a Saints To LA deal as more hyperbole, as possible as the notion is. An LA NFL team has the franchise support & revenue potential to be as big as the Lakers AND the Dodgers together. Heck, include The Moreno Angels Of California as well, LA loves their sports teams, win or tie and can and WILL front-run with ANY sports city & their fans. BTW ANY relocated to LA NFL team gets fully “re-branded”, thankfully. GO LA Chupucabras! VAMANOS!

  • What is being forgotten was that the New Orleans Saints were created at the insistence of U.S. Senator Russel Long D-La as a way for the NFL and AFL merger to be approved. In order to get an anti-trust exemption, Long insisted that New Orleans get an NFL franchise. I wonder if the law creating that anti-trust exemption would have to be changed to prevent the NFL from loosing their anti-trust exemption if the saints move from La to L.A.?

    That being said, the builder of that yacht is quoted in today’s Baton Rouge paper as saying it is a very luxurious model, implying that its value is closer to the $20Million figure.

  • “Side question: which Manning brother will win a Super Bowl ring first? (heh heh…)”

    Can I vote “neither”? 😉

    Now, RJ, certainly you recall the 49 Payton and the Colts hung on the Lions Thanksgiving Day. Sure, that’s not a Super Bowl win, but Payton is about as close to a Super Bowl win as the Lions are to a .500 season.

  • HellNo

    I don’t think so folks. The Saints aren’t going anywhere.

  • Albert

    I hope at least some NFL team moves to LA. Otherwise I would continue to lose interest in pro football in the coming years. Actually college football too, cuz we all love or hate USC.

  • Joe

    I live in LA and hope we get a team here. I believe that the Saints will move here because this city, as a market, is so overpowering over La. By the way, no Manning brother will ever win a ring. Also, it’ll help FOX and CBS net more ratings when they broadcast the Saints.

  • Juan Heath

    Maybe if Katrina destroys New Orleans, the city of Los Angeles will finally get an NFL team …

  • I full expect the Saints to play their 2005 schedule in Los Angeles this year.

  • Juan Heath

    Thanks Scooter!

    I made this same suggestion on another board and was completely attacked..

    There is already precedent with both San Diego in Arizona for MNF and moving the Expos to PR.

    I have much sympathy for the LA, MS, AL region. But I can tell you, if I’m homeless, I’m sure not going to have money to attend an NFL game …


    As a native from the L.A.-O.C. area, nothing would please me more than to support my hometown’s NFL team. If the Saints are relocated to L.A., leave the Saints name and history with the people of New Orleans and rebrand them as are team. I say find the people that own the rights to the old USFL team name and use that for the new team name. It fits L.A. perfectly. Introducing, your Los Angeles Express!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Andreh Karas

    im so excited! saints are my favorite team and i live in los angeles so that would be the best thing ever!

  • 2011 here. Still waiting . . .