NEW ORLEANS – The LSU-BYU season opening football game will be played in New Orleans.
The game with mark LSU’s 19th time playing in the Superdome. The Tigers are 13 and 5 in those games
In this case, New Orleans had to move quickly and had a lot of moving parts to make it happen. The Convention and Visitor’s Bureau did a lot of work getting the necessary hotels. It also helped that SMG runs both the Superdome and the NRG Stadium in Houston, where the game was supposed to be played.
“For us, it wasn't about profiteering. It was about doing the right thing and we told them, we'd honor the same contract they have with NRG. We'll give them the same business terms, and that was important to us to offer that and I think that helped in the long run to make the decision,” Doug Thornton, executive president of SMG, said.
It was not about profiteering but it did get competitive quickly. The one thing the Superdome could offer that Orlando, for example, could not was a strong base of LSU fans ready to buy tickets.
“The fact that we're in New Orleans, just a few miles away from Baton Rouge I think does make a difference and that, certainly was a key factor in the decision making by the organizers,” Thornton said.
Tickets to the game are not available yet. Thornton says they're working on a pricing plan, and will do that first thing in the morning. He said the goal is to have tickets available for purchase Tuesday afternoon.
BYU has played once in the Superdome and they are currently undefeated, beating Tulane in 2009 54 to 3. Thornton says they will have a block of tickets ready for Cougar fans and New Orleans will roll out the red carpet for its visitors from Utah.
“From what I heard, they were a little bit concerned about this being perceived as an LSU home game. But I don't think they realize they were going to have the same treatment in Texas because it was going to be an LSU home game there too, because of all the LSU fans in Texas. But we're going to try to make it as neutral as we can and I know their fans will have a great time if they come down here. We'll show them great hospitality,” Thornton said.
Thornton said the Saints and the Sugar Bowl also pitched in to make it possible. Labor Day will now become a huge tourism weekend for the city.