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The New Orleans Saints desperately want to play home games in front of fans. The Saints are so determined to make it happen that the team is reportedly talking to LSU officials about the possibility of playing games at Tiger Stadium with fans in attendance, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter.
The Saints attempted to host fans at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome, but those requests were denied by New Orleans Mayor LaToya Cantrell. The Saints wanted to host fans at 25 percent capacity when the team took on the Los Angeles Chargers in Week 5. Cantrell has remained firm in her ruling, not wanting to make an exception for any one business or organization, according to nola.com.
Saints vice president of communications Greg Bensel said the team wants to continue playing games in the Superdome, but isn’t sure if or when Cantrell will approve the team to have fans. Bensel said the NFL is aware of the Saints’ plans to reach out to LSU.
Greg Bensel 2: "Obviously, our overwhelming preference is to play our games in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome with partial fan attendance but there has been no indication from the city on when, or if, this might be approved." https://t.co/ot0IyjTKCd
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) October 13, 2020
Cantrell responded on Twitter, saying allowing 20,000 people in an indoor space is not safe. She added that no other indoor NFL stadium has allowed “such an exception.”
At present, no NFL stadium in the country with a fixed-roof facility is allowing such an exception. We will continue to monitor the public health data, but cannot set an artificial timeline for how and when conditions may allow for the kind of special exemption being requested.
— Mayor LaToya Cantrell (@mayorcantrell) October 13, 2020
LSU plays its games at Tiger Stadium, which is located in Baton Rouge. LSU allowed nearly 26,000 fans to attend its first game of the season.
Will the NFL allow the Saints to play games at Tiger Stadium?
While the NFL is aware of the Saints’ plan, it’s unclear whether it will amount to anything. The NFL would have to sign off on the idea, and that could be a tough ask depending on how much has to change in order to accommodate the Saints and their opponents. It’s a little over an hour drive from New Orleans to Baton Rouge, and the last-minute schedule change could frustrate teams that expected to play at the Superdome.
Scheduling could also be a problem. LSU and the Saints are set to play on the same weekend a couple times in 2020. It’s unclear whether LSU or the NFL would allow Tiger Stadium to host football games on back-to-back days. Currently, both teams are slated to play at home the weekends of Oct. 24-25 and Nov. 14-15. LSU is away Nov. 21, opening the door for the Saints to play at Tiger Stadium Nov. 22.
LSU’s final home game will take place Dec. 5, so the Saints could use Tiger Stadium for home games after that if the NFL signs off on the idea.
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