Louisiana, Saints drop exit clauses; team obligated through 2010

March 26, 2007
Reported by Associated Press

State officials and the New Orleans Saints have agreed to toss out contract exit clauses that would have let the N-F-L team leave Louisiana within the next four seasons.

Governor Kathleen Blanco told a news conference at the Governor's Mansion -- for the foreseeable future, Louisiana's team will keep marching to victory in New Orleans.

The contract had allowed the Saints to opt out of its current deal with the state by repaying about 70 million dollars the state has provided in inducements to the team. But the Saints will drop that termination clause, and the state will eliminate its ability to opt out of the contract.

Blanco and Saints officials said those changes to the contract keep the team in Louisiana through the 2010 football season. Both sides agreed to continue negotiating on a long-term agreement that could keep the Saints in New Orleans beyond the current contract.

Team spokesman Greg Bensel says owner Tom Benson is committed over the next four years to get a long-term deal done and stay in New Orleans forever.