Mississippi Gulf Coast Looking At Several Stadium Sites For The New Orleans Saints

Michael Olivier, executive director of the Harrison County Development Commission confirmed Friday that Mississippi officials are trying to keep the New Orleans Saints in the Gulf South region giving the Saints a choice of several stadium stites in Mississippi, all of the sites within 50-miles of New Orleans.

Although Mississippi Governor Ronnie Musgrove has refused to comment, Olivier told WLOX-TV that his office is working with the governor and others on the stadium project which calls for a 65-thousand-seat facility that would be more accessible to New Orleans's affluent and fast-growing suburbs north of Lake Ponchartrain.

Saints owner Tom Benson has indicated that his preference is either for a new stadium in New Orleans or renovations to the Louisiana Superdome and a renegotiated lease providing more revenue to the team.

Mississippi officials are in the process of hiring a Chicago based consultant to help devise types of incentives. The state will also use the "Family-Oriented Development Program", which was recreated to entice family oriented attractions to the Mississippi Gulf Coast. The program could be used to help the Saints retire team debts associated with moving and building a new stadium.

Michael Olivier told WLOX that Mississippi officials will evaluate the financial numbers to make the citizens of Mississippi would benefit by building a stadium on the coast. If those numbers are not productive, State officials would no longer pursue the Saints.

By A.J. Giardina