Saints kindly reject Little Rock's offer of stadium
LITTLE ROCK -- The NFL's New Orleans Saints and other sports teams displaced by Hurricane Katrina said "thanks, but no thanks" to the city of Little Rock's efforts to host their home football games.
David Russell, director of sports sales for the Little Rock Convention and Visitors Bureau, said Friday that the Saints were greatful for the offer of free use of War Memorial Stadium, but said they had other preferences.
"They said, 'To be honest with you, Little Rock would not be our first choice, but we appreciate it,' " Russell said. "They told me they had been contacted by over 30 cities."
The Saints wanted to play all but their first home game -- originally set for the Superdome, now set for Monday, Sept. 19, at Giants Stadium against the New York Giants -- in Baton Rouge, La., at LSU's Tigers Stadium. But Friday it was announced that deals were in the works for four games to be played at San Antonio's Alamodome, near where the Saints set up temporary offices and practice facilities, and the other three games in Baton Rouge.
Russell said he tried to pitch Little Rock as a Saints fan base because of its proximity to northern Louisiana, although Arkansas is traditionally partial to the Dallas Cowboys and is split among Cowboys, Kansas City Chiefs and Tennessee Titans television markets. Saints games are rarely carried on Little Rock broadcast TV.
Little Rock also contacted the University of New Orleans, Southern Mississippi, Louisiana-Lafayette and Loyola about hosting their NCAA games, but they all said they preferred to keep game-related revenues in state, if possible, and if not, play at another school within their conference.
"I think they know we're not trying to poach here, we're just trying to help," said Russell, who did not go so far as to estimate economic benefits of hosting the games.
Copyright 2005 by The Associated Press
MORE NFL HEADLINES
- Report: Hernandez questioned on homicide
- Pats' Gronkowski undergoes back surgery
- Gleason accepts fired radio DJs' apologies
- Johnson: 'I've learned my lesson' from jail
MOST SENT STORIES ON ESPN.COM
Hurricane Katrina Coverage
• NFL's Katrina telethon raises $5 million
• NCAA won't change transfer waiver process
• Oklahoma City possible site for Hornets
• New Orleans Bowl may move to Lafayette
• NFL's Week 2 'Hurricane Relief'
• With hotels, Sugar Bowl to be at LSU
• Giants to redecorate stadium in Saints' colors
• Tulane to wear commemorative patches
• Superdome to be decontaminated
• Auburn player learns brothers alive
• Mississippi State-Tulane to hold telethon
• Bucher: Mr. Rogers' neighborhood
• NBA charity game lifts spirits
• Favre's hometown normal -- for a few hours
• ABC News coverage of Katrina