NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) -The state bond commission deferred action on 2 lines of credit for the Louisiana Superdome. Commissioners expressed concern about a Saints refund policy that forces season ticket holders to give up their spot, if they don’t adhere to new vaccination requirements, for entry to the Saints games.
The Caesars Superdome is in the midst of a $450 million renovation, being paid for through state-issued bonds that are now being held up.
“The problem is these professional sports organizations used to treat their fans as customers but now they treat them more like commodities,” said commissioner Jeff Landry, the state attorney general.
Bond commissioners are expressing concerns about a Saint ticket refund policy for those who won’t get into the game, because they are either not vaccinated, or resent being told they have to show papers before going into the Superdome.
“If we have a vaccine or don’t have the vaccine it’s nobody’s business that’s between a person and that person’s doctor,” said season ticket holder Dave Hill.
The Saints say if people don’t want to go to games this year they have until 4 PM Tuesday to get a refund on their tickets. But season ticket holders who take that option, lose their season tickets and get put back on the end of a lengthy waiting list.
If they want them back. It could take several years.
“I think they need to be responsive to the same taxpayers, buy their tickets and rent suites and pay for their parking, I don’t think it’s too much to ask,” said bond commissioner and senate president Page Cortez.
Because of concerns about the refund policy, the state bond commission today deferred action on two measures. One would have provided a $2.86 million cash line of credit for the Superdome, another measure delayed would’ve extended a $25 million non-cash line of credit, raising concerns about possible interruptions in the dome renovation timetable.
“This is an important project on a tight timeline and I don’t know what the consequences will be,” said bond commissioner Mathew Block.
Season ticket holder David Hill says he’s in discussions with the Saints about a possible refund, but he supports the 11-2 bond commission vote deferring action on the Superdome line of credit.
“It all boils down to the mighty dollar, organizations need to be kept in check, and tightening the purse strings might make them do some things,” said Hill.
The Saints say they got 120 requests for ticket refunds, and thousands of calls from interested fans wanting to purchase any newly available tickets, from season ticket holders who are opting out
The LSED declined to comment on the vote. The matter is expected to come up again next month.
As for the Saints, they say there will be free COVID vaccination shots outside the Superdome on game day Monday. They say any ticketholder who gets a shot who hasn’t had one already, will be able to get into the preseason game.
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