Mercedes-Benz Superdome

The Mercedes-Benz Superdome –Previously known as the Louisiana Superdome – is a sports and exhibition facility located in the Central Business District of New Orleans, Louisiana. Plans were drawn up in 1967 by the New Orleans modernist architectural firm of Curtis and Davis, the company also responsible for design of the main branch of the New Orleans Public Library (1956–58). The Superdome is home to the NFL's New Orleans Saints and the NCAA's Division I Tulane University football team. It is one of the few facilities in the United States which can host major sporting events such as the Super Bowl and the Final Four; as such, given New Orleans' popularity as a tourist destination, whenever the Superdome bids to host such an event it routinely makes the "short list" of candidates being considered. It has been chosen to host Super Bowl XLVII in February 2013. The Superdome is the largest fixed domed structure in the world. Its steel frame covers a 13-acre (53,000 m 2) expanse. Its 273-foot (83 m) dome is made of a Lamella multi-ringed frame and has a diameter of 680 feet (210 m). In 2005, the Superdome came to international attention when it housed thousands of people seeking shelter from Hurricane Katrina, and it was damaged in the storm.


Capacity
The Superdome has a listed football seating capacity of 72,968 (expanded) or 69,703 (not expanded), a maximum basketball seating capacity of 55,675, and a maximum baseball capacity of 63,525; however, published attendance figures from events such as the Sugar Bowl football game have exceeded 85,000. A 1980s Rolling Stones concert attracted more than 87,500 spectators. The basketball capacity does not reflect the NCAA's new policy on arranging the basketball court on the 50-yard line on the football field, per 2009 NCAA policy.

Stadium history
Sports visionary David Dixon, (who decades later founded the United States Football League) conceived of the Superdome while attempting to convince the NFL to award a franchise to New Orleans. After hosting several exhibition games at Tulane Stadium during typical New Orleans summer thunderstorms, Dixon was told by NFL Commissioner Pete Rozelle that the NFL would never expand into New Orleans without a domed stadium. Dixon then won the support of the governor of Louisiana, John McKeithen. When they toured the Astrodome in Houston, Texas in 1966, McKeithen was quoted as saying, "I want one of these, only bigger," in reference to the Astrodome itself. Bonds were passed for construction of the Superdome on November 8, 1966, seven days after commissioner Pete Rozelle awarded New Orleans the 25th professional football franchise. The stadium was conceptualized to be a multifunctional stadium but without consideration for professional baseball. Dixon imagined the possibilities of staging simultaneous high school football games side-by-side and suggested that the synthetic surface be white. Blount International of Montgomery, Alabama was chosen to build the stadium. It was hoped the stadium would be ready in time for the 1972 NFL season, and the final cost of the facility would come in at $46 million. Instead, due to political delays, construction did not start until August 11, 1971 and was not finished until August 1975, seven months after Super Bowl IX was scheduled to be played in the stadium. Since the stadium was not finished in time for the Super Bowl, the game had to be moved to Tulane Stadium and was played in cold and rainy conditions. Factoring in inflation, construction delays, and the increase in transportation costs caused by the 1973 oil crisis, the final price tag of the stadium skyrocketed to $165 million. The first Super Bowl played in the stadium was Super Bowl XII in January 1978, the first in prime time. The New Orleans Saints opened the 1975 NFL season at the Superdome, losing 21–0 to the Cincinnati Bengals in the first regular season game in the facility. Tulane Stadium was condemned on the day the Superdome opened, although the original concrete sections stood on the Tulane University campus until November 1979. The Superdome is located on 52 acres (210,437 m 2) of land, including the former Girod Street Cemetery. The dome has an interior space of 125,000,000 cubic feet (3,500,000 m 3), a height of 253 feet (77.1 m), a dome diameter of 680 feet (207.3 m), and a total floor area of 269,000 square feet (24,991 m 2). The New Orleans Arena, adjacent to the Louisiana Superdome, opened on October 19, 1999. A smaller conventional indoor arena, it was designed by Arthur Q. Davis, whose former firm had designed the Superdome. The Superdome converted its artificial grass surface to Field Turf midway through the 2003 football season, replacing the original AstroTurf surface on November 16. After being damaged from the flooding of Hurricane Katrina in 2005, a new Sportexe MomentumTurf surface was installed for the 2006 season.

Baseball
The American Association New Orleans Pelicans played at the Superdome during the 1977 season. The Pelicans' season attendance was 217,957 at the dome. Superdome officials pursued negotiations with Oakland Athletics officials during the 1978-1979 baseball off-season about moving the Athletics to the Superdome. The Athletics were unable to break their lease at the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum and remained in Oakland. Superdome officials met with the Pittsburgh Pirates in April 1981 about moving the club to New Orleans when the Pirates were unhappy with their lease at Three Rivers Stadium. The New York Yankees played exhibition games at the Superdome in 1980, 1981, 1982, and 1983. The Yankees hosted the Baltimore Orioles on March 15 and 16, 1980. 45,152 spectators watched the Yankees beat the Orioles 9 to 3 on March 15, 1980. The following day, 43,339 fans saw Floyd Rayford lead the Orioles to a 7 to 1 win over the Yankees. Late in 1982, the Yankees considered opening the 1983 regular season at the Superdome if Yankee Stadium would not be ready yet after renovations. Attendance slipped to 15,129 for a March 27, 1983 Yankees- Blue Jays exhibition game at the Superdome. The Philadelphia Phillies and St. Louis Cardinals closed the 1984 spring training season with two games at the dome on March 31, 1984 and April 1, 1984.

Hurricane Katrina

Effect of Hurricane Katrina
The Superdome was used as a "shelter of last resort" for those in New Orleans unable to evacuate from Hurricane Katrina when it struck in late August 2005. During the storm, a large section of the outer covering was peeled off by high winds. The photos of the damage, in which the concrete underneath was exposed, quickly became an iconic image of Hurricane Katrina. A few days later the dome was closed until September 25, 2006. During the ordeal, the stadium sheltered about 30,000 people.

Reopening after Katrina
The Superdome cost $185 million to repair and refurbish. To repair the Superdome, FEMA put up $115 million, the state spent $13 million, the Louisiana Stadium & Expedition District refinanced a bond package to secure $41 million and the NFL contributed $15 million. On Super Bowl XL Sunday (February 5, 2006), the NFL announced that the Saints would play their home opener on September 24, 2006 in the Superdome against the Atlanta Falcons. The game was later moved to Monday night, September 25, 2006. The reopening of the dome was celebrated with festivities including a free outdoor concert by the Goo Goo Dolls before fans were allowed in, a pre-game performance by the rock bands U2 and Green Day performing a cover of The Skids' " The Saints Are Coming", and a coin toss conducted by former President George H. W. Bush. In front of ESPN's largest-ever audience at that time, the Saints won the game 23–3 with 70,003 in attendance and went on to a successful season reaching their first ever NFC Championship Game. The first bowl game played in the Superdome after Katrina was the New Orleans Bowl won by the Troy University Trojans 41–17 over the Rice University Owls.

Renovations
The Superdome is scheduled to undergo $320 million in renovations in three phases, due to its contract with the New Orleans Saints. New windows have been installed for natural lighting, and an expected face lift will make the roof-facing a solid white hue and the sides of the dome panels a champagne bronze color. The entire outer layer of the stadium, more than 400,000 square feet of aluminum siding, will be replaced with new aluminum panels and insulation, and an innovative barrier system for drainage will be added by 2010. The dome is set to resemble its original facade. In addition, escalators will be added to the outside of the club rooms. Each suite will have modernized rooms with raised ceilings, leather sofas and flat-screen TVs, as well as glass, brushed aluminum and wood-grain furnishings. A new $600,000 point-of-sale system is also being installed, which will allow fans to purchase concessions with credit cards throughout the stadium for the first time. Once all three phases of the renovation are completed the Superdome will be one of the most up-to-date facilities in the U.S.

Major events

Annual sporting events

  • Home games for the New Orleans Saints(Super Bowl XLIV Champions)
  • Home games for Tulane University college football
  • Home to the Sugar Bowl since 1975 (except in 2006 when, due to Hurricane Katrina damage, the game was temporarily relocated to Atlanta), one of the four major college football bowl games (the Southeastern Conference champion is the host team unless it is selected to participate in the BCS National Championship Game)
  • Home to the New Orleans Bowl since 2001 (except in 2005 when, due to Hurricane Katrina damage, the game was temporarily relocated to Lafayette), a minor bowl game featuring the Sun Belt Conference champion (as the host team; the Conference is headquartered in New Orleans) against a member of Conference USA
  • Home to the Bayou Classic a Thanksgiving Day weekend college football game featuring Louisiana's two historically black universities, Grambling State and Southern University.
  • Home to the Louisiana high school football state championships



Rotating sporting events The following major sporting events are those in which the Superdome is either on a rotating list of facilities to host the event, or is widely considered to be on a "short list" of facilities to host it:

  • BCS National Championship Game – As the host site of the Sugar Bowl, the Superdome rotates with the locations of the other three major college bowl games (the Rose Bowl, Fiesta Bowl, and Orange Bowl) as the host for the BCS National Championship Game. The Superdome hosted the BCS National Championship Game in 2000, 2004, and 2008, and is scheduled to host the game again in 2012.
  • Super Bowl – More Super Bowls have been played at the Louisiana Superdome than at any other sports facility: 1978, 1981, 1986, 1990, 1997, and 2002. The Superdome is currently scheduled to host the 2013 Super Bowl.
  • The Final Four – the Superdome hosted the NCAA college basketball Final Fours in 1982, 1987, 1993, and 2003. The Superdome is scheduled to host the games again in 2012.


Other notable events

  • Late 1970s/Early 1980s – Mid South Wrestling quarterly events.
  • 1980 – The infamous "No Mas" boxing match between Sugar Ray Leonard and Roberto Durán.
  • Dec 5, 1981: The Rolling Stones drew 80,000 plus for a stop on their American Tour 1981..
  • April 19, 1986 – The first National Wrestling Alliance Jim Crockett Sr. Memorial Tag Team Tournament.
  • September 13, 1987 – Mass (attended by an estimated 80,000) conducted by Pope John Paul II.
  • 1988 – The 1988 Republican Party national convention, which nominated George H. W. Bush of Texas for U.S. President and Dan Quayle of Indiana for the vice presidency.
  • August 29, 1992 hard rock band Guns N' Roses performed at this venue.
  • 1994 – two spring training games between the Boston Red Sox and New York Yankees.
  • January 13, 1997 & January 19, 1998 – WCW Monday Nitro shows.
  • August 22, 2001 – 'N Sync performed at the Superdome during their Pop Odyssey Tour; the concert was released on VHS and DVD early 2002 titled "Pop Odyssey Live."
  • 2005 – Hurricane Katrina evacuation.
  • July 22-July 26, 2009 – The Superdome hosted the 2009 ELCA Youth Gathering. The Superdome was a place of dancing, speakers, and bands both locally and nationally during the full 5 days.
  • On January 24 , 2010 the Superdome hosted its first NFC Championship Game, which the Saints won 31-28 over the Minnesota Vikings in overtime.
  • On September 9, 2010; the Superdome will host the 2010 NFL Kickoff game.

 

 


 

Media

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