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Super Bowl LIX preparations ahead of schedule

Lauscha: 'We do it well and I think we're going to continue to be in that (Super Bowl) rotation'


Orlando – New Orleans Saints President Dennis Lauscha said Monday that the city is ahead of schedule in terms of preparations for Super Bowl LIX, scheduled to be played Feb. 9, 2025, in the Caesars Superdome.

"Going great locally, going great here at the NFL," Lauscha said from the NFL owners meetings. "The NFL has had a bunch of folks in New Orleans the last couple of weeks, meeting with our folks – meeting with (President and CEO) Jay Cicero and the Greater New Orleans Sports Foundation, as well as (event management property) ASM and LSED (Louisiana Stadium and Exposition District). So, things can't be going better, to be honest.

"I keep asking, 'How are we doing? How are we doing?' We're further ahead in preparation for the Super Bowl than we ever have before. We feel that in New Orleans, and they feel that in New York. So, we're feeling good."

Lauscha said the renovated Caesars Superdome also has drawn positive reviews.

"They're very excited with the renovations we've done, very happy with the progress we've made. And so are our fans," he said. "I would tell you one thing that we talk about is that we have a number of new events coming to the Super Bowl with the NFL that were different than the last time we hosted. So I think the focus is really on getting the community to come to the game, (and) if you're not involved with the game, be involved with the things that are ancillary to the gameday experience.

"And there's a lot of focus on that, a lot of opportunities to participate if you're a New Orleanian or a Saints fan or in the region. I think that's going to be different, but I think that's going to be outstanding for our community."

New Orleans last hosted the Super Bowl in 2013, when the Ravens beat the 49ers. The 12-year gap is the longest for New Orleans since it hosted its first Super Bowl at Tulane Stadium in 1970.

"I love the Super Bowl when it's in New Orleans," Saints Executive Vice President/General Manager Mickey Loomis said. "I loved it before I got here. I think we're the perfect city for the Super Bowl and if it were up to me, it'd be in New Orleans every two or three years. And I think if it were up to a lot of people that would be the case."

"Consistently, time after time after time, you continue to hear that New Orleans is at the top of the list of cities where people want to come," Lauscha said. "Sponsors want to come, the media wants to come, fans want to come.

"The New Orleans Saints continue to be one of the biggest draws for visiting fans. Other teams see that. It's a great game for the city, a great opportunity for the city. And, look, hospitality is what we do. We do it well and I think we're going to continue to be in that (Super Bowl) rotation."

CONFIDENT IN DIRECTION: Lauscha said he believes the Saints are headed in the right direction despite consecutive non-playoff seasons.

"Real excited with our coaching staff, real excited with the opportunities we have in the draft. I know Mickey is excited and speaking to (Coach) Dennis (Allen), he's really excited about the direction of the team and where we're headed. We'll see where we go, but we're feeling confident.

"I think sometimes we forget that this league is really focused on parity. It's very difficult to be in the Super Bowl every year. Now, we're seeing that with one team (Kansas City) in our league and we saw it with another team (New England) in our league over the last decade. But the reality of it is, it's still difficult.

"It's a building process and I think we continue to focus on how we can be successful and continue to do well, knowing that there might be hiccups along the way. I think it's important to never forget that stability is important, having a long-term plan is important. We talked about having the opportunity to take advantage of various opportunities that present themselves. As long as we can be in that position, then I think we'll have success."

CAMP CALI: Lauscha said there was a necessity to move training camp this year, but it's not expected to be a long-term scenario. Camp will be in California, rather than the team's practice facility in Metairie.

"Look at construction that's going on," he said. "From a cafeteria standpoint, we don't have a cafeteria right now. We don't have a cooking area right now. We're upgrading all of those things, upgrading our weight-lifting facilities, making improvements to some of our ingress and egress into the facility. And we just can't get it all done by the start of training camp. I fully expect to be back in Metairie the following year when all the renovations are done to our practice facility."

HIGH ON PELS: Lauscha, who also has served as president of the NBA New Orleans Pelicans since 2012, smiled when asked about the team's progress. The Pelicans currently are 44-27, the No. 5 seed in the Western Conference, a half-game behind the fourth-place Los Angeles Clippers with 11 regular-season games remaining.

New Orleans is 9-2 in its last 11 games.

"We still have a long ways to go, I don't want to suggest that we don't still have a long ways to go, but I think you're starting to see some of seeds are starting to bloom a little bit from when we planted five years ago (when David Griffin was hired as executive vice president of basketball operations)," he said. "And that's the whole idea.

"We talk about long-term view. I know we all want short-term changes immediately – I get that. I'm a fan, too, I get frustrated. I'm at every game and get frustrated when we don't win. But on the other hand, it takes time.

"I think we're in a good position. I think we have an outstanding general manager, I think we have an outstanding coach (Willie Green), I think we have an outstanding foundation. I can't say enough good things about the people in our locker room. We're excited, the team is winning and hopefully we can continue that into the future."

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