The longest work stoppage in NFL history can’t dim the enthusiasm of Saints fans.
While the majority of teams around the league struggle to sell tickets in this uncertain environment, the Saints have already sold out the entire 2011 season in the renovated Louisiana Superdome.
With 73,000 seats now in the stadium, the Saints will boast the sixth straight year of sellouts since returning to the city after Hurricane Katrina.
It’s a remarkable story. The franchise was struggling to sell tickets before the storm and the city of New Orleans, already small by NFL standards, lost a dramatic amount of its population. 98% of season tickets were renewed despite the lockout.
“This is consistent with years prior. It speaks to the passion of our fans,” VP of communications Greg Bensel told the New Orleans Times-Picayune.
The paper says the NFL was “overjoyed” with the rare bit of good news this offseason.
“It highlights the passion of the fans, and it’s a real credit to the Saints organization and their great fans,” Commissioner Roger Goodell said in an email to the paper.
The Saints have also avoided any staff pay cuts or furloughs during the lockout. It’s hard to believe, but owner Tom Benson now runs one of the league’s model franchises.
Six years and a franchise quarterback can change so much.