SUPERDOME UPGRADE COSTS — Plans for $450 million in upgrades to New Orleans’ iconic Superdome have been disrupted because of financial troubles caused by the pandemic. That's what the operations director Evan Holmes with ASM Global that manages the Superdome told state lawmakers during a budget hearing Wednesday.
"Obviously we got pretty whacked when it came to Covid," Holmes said. "When you're in the business of sports and entertainment, you rely on what we call the opposite of social distancing of event activities."
The coronavirus outbreak temporarily ended many events at the domed stadium and the neighboring arena causing revenues to plummet last year. Crowds at the Superdome weren’t allowed or were greatly limited for New Orleans Saints’ games.
"65% of our revenue comes from hotel occupancy tax and obviously with everything going on across the country, travel was down to really post-911 levels for us and the balance being 35% of revenue coming self-generated activity which were basically events when those were non-existence essentially," Holmes explained.
In response to the reduced income, the company slowed the stadium improvements and may not complete the full project as originally envisioned. The plans for renovating the nearly 50 year old Superdome called for the state covering $90 million of the costs, the Saints Football Team putting up $150 million and the management district paying $210 million. While negotiations with Governor Edward’s administration continue , several lawmakers on the Appropriations Committee questioned whether the state should be paying for the stadium improvements.
ASM Global oversees the Superdome, arena and other facilities around the state including Shreveport Convention Center and the Brookshire Grocery Arena in Bossier City.