Study Says Saints Move To Mississippi Would Have Been Feasible

The study said that at no time did Mississippi enter into negotiations with the Saints to move the NFL team to Hancock County. However, it also said that if the situation warranted, Mississippi was prepared to save the Saints for the Gulf Coast.

While the study was being done, Gov. Musgrove told the media it wasn't his policy to discuss economic development projects like the Saints potential move. Now, for the first time, we see what the governor found out about the feasibility of the Saints coming to Hancock County.

According to the study, a retractable dome stadium would have been built in NASA's buffer zone, immediately north of I-10 in Hancock County. It would have been next to a Mississippi technology museum being proposed by NASA. And it would have opened in time for the 2006 football season.

The study concluded that the Hancock County site would draw fans from the Gulf South region. As a result, the Saints would be playing in the seventh largest market in the NFL. That means the team would have a fan base that extends from Baton Rouge to Pensacola.

It would also have more corporate support. Mississippi companies like Nissan, MCI World Com and coast casinos would all be asked to buy suites and tickets.

From an economic standpoint, the analysis projected tax revenues for Mississippi over a 30 year period exceeding $1.3 billion. It didn't say who would pay to build the new stadium.

Analysts also determined that the Saints in Mississippi would significantly increase visibility for the tourism, hospitality and gaming industries. And it would lead to major economic development benefits for the magnolia state.

In the end, the Mississippi study found that an NFL team in Hancock County had a number of significant benefits for the Saints franchise, and comparatively few disadvantages. It said a move east would have provided the Saints with certainly, stability and revenues that would permit the club to be competitive in the NFL on a long-term basis.

The report was given to state leaders on Aug. 15th. It was paid for by both the Mississippi Development Authority and the Gulf Coast Gaming Association.

After obtaining the report, WLOX News asked Gov. Musgrove for a comment about it. He said, "The gulf coast has great potential and is poised for long term growth. That's exciting for Mississippi, and we will work to help achieve the promise of our gulf coast."

Again, the analysis concluded that the Saints moving to Hancock County is feasible possibility. But it's a moot point, because the Saints and Louisiana are working on a new deal to keep the football team in New Orleans.