Louisiana state lawmakers have approved a deal between Caesars Entertainment and the New Orleans Saints that will see the gaming company take on naming rights to the NFL American football franchise’s Superdome stadium.
The proposed deal was first reported in March, but has yet to receive official confirmation from either the Saints or Caesars as it moves through the approval process. However, the pathway to what will be a landmark deal for the NFL was smoothed yesterday (Thursday) as Louisiana’s Joint Legislative Committee on the Budget approved the naming rights agreement without objection.
Nola.com said the 20-year contract, which will see the stadium become the Caesars Superdome, will be worth around $138m (£100.5m/€117.1m). The Superdome has been sponsored by German automotive manufacturer Mercedes-Benz since 2011 but it was confirmed last May that the company would not be extending its deal.
In September, the Saints appointed Oak View Group to sell naming rights for the Superdome. It had been hoped that a new deal could be struck by this month, with the Mercedes-Benz agreement having expired on July 15. Signed in 2011, Mercedes-Benz’s 10-year deal with the Saints was reportedly worth between $50m and $60m.
Nola.com said Caesar’s contract fee will be paid entirely to the Saints as part of the team’s 2009 agreement with the Louisiana Stadium and Exposition District, known as the Superdome Commission, which oversees the state-owned stadium.
The Superdome is currently undergoing extensive renovation work worth $450m ahead of the 2024 Super Bowl and in January the team shared further details on the next phase of improvements. The Saints have pledged to spend the Caesars income on this project.
When the deal is finalised, the Saints will become the first NFL team to play in a stadium named after a casino. Hard Rock, the hotel, restaurant, live entertainment and gambling company, holds naming rights to the home of the Miami Dolphins but wasn’t permitted to use gambling references when that deal was struck in 2016.
Caesars would become only the second naming-rights sponsor in the history of the Superdome, which opened as the Louisiana Superdome in 1975. The stadium has hosted the Super Bowl on seven previous occasions, most recently in 2013.