Saints owner was honored at the Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium on Aug. 3 in Canton, Ohio.
CANTON, OHIO – The spectacular Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium was dedicated during a ceremony this morning that included the unveiling of a larger-than-life sized likeness of Tom Benson, the owner of the New Orleans Saints. Benson gifted $10 million in November 2014 towards the building of the stadium.
Benson, along with his wife Gayle, were joined at the ceremony by several team executives – Dennis Lauscha, president; Mickey Loomis, executive vice president/general manager; and Greg Bensel, senior vice president of communications/broadcasting – that took place in the end zone plaza of the world-class stadium where the 10-foot monument of Benson overlooks the field. Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium is a key component of the nearly $800 million Johnson Controls Hall of Fame Village under way on the Hall's campus led by the Hall of Fame and Industrial Realty Group, LLC (IRG).
The venue will host tonight's Hall of Fame Game between the Arizona Cardinals and Dallas Cowboys to kick off the 2017 Pro Football Hall of Fame Enshrinement Week Powered by Johnson Controls.
"In 1920, in Canton, Ohio, the first NFL Owners meeting took place and the NFL was created. That is why my commitment to the Pro Football Hall of Fame, the Legends Landing and Canton, Ohio is so important to Gayle and myself," said Saints Owner Tom Benson. "While the stadium and the statue are truly an honor that we cherish, what makes this gift and this day most important is recognizing the greats of the game that have built the game into what it is today…we need to continue to honor and assist them. That is why I made sure one of the first things we did when discussing this was to make an additional $1 million gift that would go to the creation of Legends Landing, one of the most important pieces of this great development. Gayle and I are truly honored and I would also like to congratulate Johnson Controls on their commitment as well."
Legends Landing, an assisted living, independent living and memory care facility is part of the Player Care Center at Johnson Controls Hall of Fame Village.
"Mr. Benson's contributions to this game are immeasurable. His legacy will forever be reflected in this beautiful stadium, the finest small venue NFL stadium in the world," commented Pro Football Hall of Fame President David Baker. "He has had a deep passion for growing the sport and his investment in the Hall's vision will make a significant impact on the future of this great game. His contribution to Legends Landing will also ensure that we love and honor those who helped build this game."
Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium is a sports and entertainment complex that holds 23,000. It features an NFL caliber press box and boasts world-class hospitality experiences in a variety of settings.
- Club seating level featuring 968 gold colored seats are positioned at the first level of the press box.
- VIP Lounge for 50 guests offers a unique space with incredible views of the stadium and can be configured as a lounge, banquet or dining area.
- Luxury suites provide premium seating and great site lines for all stadium events, as well as feature flat screen TVs and upscale catering.
- Sky Level sits atop the press box and features a sprawling terrace overlooking the entire stadium. The one-of-a-kind experience accommodates up to 250 guests.
- Five event terraces in the west end zone offer unique experiences in a casual outdoor party setting with food and beverage catering.
"Completing the stadium is a tremendous milestone in the project's overall progress. We are creating a long-lasting legacy in Canton that will impact generations of fans for years to come," said Stuart Lichter, president of IRG, master developer for Johnson Controls Hall of Fame village.
HKS, a worldwide leader in Sports and Entertainment Architecture designed Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium. Other recent NFL stadiums the firm has designed includes AT&T Stadium (Dallas Cowboys), Lucas Oil Stadium (Indianapolis Colts), U.S. Bank Stadium (Minnesota Vikings) and are currently designing the new home of the Los Angeles Rams and Los Angeles Chargers in Inglewood, Calif.
"The reduced scale and capacity of Tom Benson Stadium offers an intimate, immersive and connected fan experience that will be unmatched in the world of sports," said Mark A. Williams, HKS Principal. "Our design features the first permanently embedded stage within a stadium seating bowl, which will maximize flexibility in how the venue can be used – ultimately making Johnson Controls Hall of Fame Village the premier entertainment destination for sports enthusiasts."
Welty Building Company of Akron, Ohio is the Construction Management firm for the stadium.
Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium hosts three main events of the annual Enshrinement Week Powered by Johnson Controls – the Hall of Fame Game, Enshrinement Ceremony, and the Concert for Legends.
It will also be the football home for two local colleges (Malone University and Walsh University) and one local high school (McKinley). Recently, the venue was awarded the Ohio High School Athletic Association's football championships. The stadium will also be the site for the NCAA Division III National Football Championships in 2020 and 2021. Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium will host other athletic events including lacrosse and soccer.
Built in amphitheater style with a large, permanent built-in stage, Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium is an elite concert venue that ranks among the best in the nation due to its unique architecture.
Additional work on the venue includes the addition of a concourse and permanent seating in the east end zone that will be completed in time for the 2018 Enshrinement Week Powered by Johnson Controls.
The dedication of the stadium this morning included the unveiling a new logo for Johnson Controls Hall of Fame Village. The completion of Johnson Controls Hall of Fame Village coincides with the NFL's 100th season and Centennial celebration in 2020.
ABOUT JOHNSON CONTROLS
Johnson Controls is a global diversified technology and multi industrial leader serving a wide range of customers in more than 150 countries. Our 120,000 employees create intelligent buildings, efficient energy solutions, integrated infrastructure and next generation transportation systems that work seamlessly together to deliver on the promise of smart cities and communities. Our commitment to sustainability dates back to our roots in 1885, with the invention of the first electric room thermostat. We are committed to helping our customers win and creating greater value for all of our stakeholders through strategic focus on our buildings and energy growth platforms. For additional information, please visit http://www.johnsoncontrols.com or follow us @johnsoncontrols on Twitter.
ABOUT THE PRO FOOTBALL HALL OF FAME
Located in Canton, Ohio, the birthplace of the National Football League, the Pro Football Hall of Fame is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit institution with the Mission to Honor the Heroes of the Game, Preserve its History, Promote its Values, & Celebrate Excellence EVERYWHERE.
Hundreds of thousands of fans from across the globe travel to Canton annually to experience "The Most Inspiring Place on Earth!" that chronicles America's most popular sport.
Construction on Johnson Controls Hall of Fame Village, a $700 million development project that includes nine main components, is under way in Canton to transform the Hall of Fame's campus.
For more information about the Pro Football Hall of Fame, please visit ProFootballHOF.com; @ProFootballHOF on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, and YouTube.
ABOUT INDUSTRIAL REALTY GROUP, LLC
IRG is a nationwide real estate development and investment firm specializing in the acquisition, development and management of commercial and industrial real estate throughout the United States. IRG, through its affiliated partnerships and limited liability companies, is among the country's largest owners of commercial and industrial properties, operating a portfolio of more than 150 properties in 28 states with approximately 100 million square feet of rentable space. IRG is nationally recognized as a leading force behind the adaptive reuse of commercial and industrial real estate, solving some of America's most difficult real estate challenges. Learn more at www.industrialrealtygroup.com or find us on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter & YouTube.