Photos from the Greater New Orleans Sports Foundation Quarterback Club luncheon featuring Saints and Pelicans President Dennis Lauscha. Photos by Ashley Amoss (New Orleans Saints Photos).
The investment is just as passionate at the top as it is on every other level within the New Orleans Saints' organization.
So don't expect team president Dennis Lauscha to be any less excited than any coach, player, fan or any category that lands above, between or beneath to not feel an adrenaline rush as the regular season beckons, beginning with the season opener in Arizona against the Cardinals.
"Football is right around the corner, we'll be in Arizona in (12 days)," he said. "I'm real confident, feel real good about the season."
Lauscha on Tuesday spoke to members of the Greater New Orleans Sports Foundation Quarterback Club at The Cannery, the first of 16 consecutive luncheons the organization will host this year. Speakers from the Saints, Tulane, LSU and prep football teams will address the gathering weekly.
"It was an honor to be asked to speak today," Lauscha said. "We're very supportive of sports in this city and this region, and these really are the people who support it day in and day out. You can't ask for more from the Sports Foundation – they're always there to lend a helping hand to anyone who's doing any sporting event, and the Quarterback Club, which has been here for 77 years."
Lauscha, who also serves as president of the Pelicans, said New Orleans' two pro sports franchises didn't have much down time after their seasons were complete.
"This offseason has been a fun offseason," he said, laughing. "We've seen a lot, and every offseason seems to be more and more challenging every year because the industry changes so much. But this offseason, we're very excited.
"From a basketball standpoint, we went into it coming off our first playoff appearance in a very long time. Obviously, we need to improve our football product. That means a lot of thought, a lot of process, a lot of looking into the mirror both on the football side and on the basketball side, to make sure we have the best people in the best places to deliver winning football. And I think we've accomplished that.
"At the end of the day, I think we're going to have a really good football team. I know we're going to have a really good football team. I'm excited about a lot of things with our football team."
For the basketball team, the major offseason objective was to sign star forward Anthony Davis to a contract extension, and the former No. 1 overall pick signed a five-year, maximum-salary extension.
"That was a big offseason goal, and we were able to accomplish it," Lauscha said. "I can't say enough – he wanted to be here, and it makes it a lot easier when the player wants to be here. And we're real proud of the fact that he wants to be here.
"He wants to be here because we have a great coaching staff, we have great ownership, great practice facility and we've got great fans. He loves being here, he likes the city, the city has really embraced him and we're really excited that he's here."
For the Saints, Lauscha said he believes the entire product will be improved, on and off the field. The franchise will upgrade scoreboards next season, and Champions Square also will receive enhancements. The team app includes a feature that will allow fans to see replays from four different angles, as well as up-to-the-second, in-game statistics.
"It's a big deal," Lauscha said. "As much as it's important that we put a good football team on the field, it's as important to put a good product around that football team on the field. There are a lot of moving parts with regard to gameday staffing, entertainment, the music we play, there are a lot of sponsors who are very involved. So it's a very hectic time of the year for us.
"It's hard to even explain how well it's going to enhance it. It's just going to be a more vibrant, rich video board and being digital allows us to do a lot more things. There'll be a lot more fan interaction, a lot more views for our fans, a lot more getting involved in the game."