AP Source says that Saints have agreed to a Superdome lease

The Associated Press ~ staff The News
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NEW ORLEANS - The New Orleans Saints have agreed to a lease extension that will keep the NFL team playing home games in an improved Louisiana Superdome through the 2025 season.
An announcement by Saints owner Tom Benson and Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal has been scheduled for 10 a.m. Thursday at the Superdome.
A person with direct knowledge of lease negotiations confirmed to The Associated Press that a general agreement has been reached and was expected to be signed later in the week after final details have been worked out. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because the team and governor had yet to make the announcement.
Benson and Jindal wanted a long-term extension in place by this spring to improve New Orleans' bid to host the 2013 Super Bowl.
It would be the city's 10th Super Bowl and the seventh in the Superdome, an iconic, 34-year-old structure that has hosted some of the nation's most memorable sporting events, world famous musical acts and even the late Pope John Paul II.
On Wednesday, a video presentation of the proposed deal was shown in Baton Rouge to state legislators, who will have to approve the new lease. Afterward, state Sen. John Alario said the complex deal would cap direct state cash payments to the NFL team at about US$6 million a year.
Alario, D-Westwego, a powerful New Orleans area lawmaker, said the state could pay even less than $6 million each year, depending on how much money the Saints get from other income sources.
The arrangement would be far less than the $23.5 million the state is slated pay the Saints annually in a direct cash subsidy over next three years.
The deal would save the state $281 million between 2010 and 2025 compared to what the state would have paid if the current deal had been extended, a person close to the negotiations said.
The state will be giving money to Benson in other ways, however.
The state has agreed to spend $85 million in improvements to the Superdome and to lease office space for local state agencies at a downtown property Benson has an agreement to buy.-
Associated Press reporter Melinda Deslatte in Baton Rouge contributed to this report.

Organizations: Louisiana Superdome, NFL, The Associated Press New Orleans Saints

Geographic location: NEW ORLEANS, Louisiana, Baton Rouge Westwego

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