|The Superdome, The Dome|
|Former names||Louisiana Superdome (1975–2011)|
|Location||1500 Sugar Bowl Drive|
New Orleans, Louisiana 70112
|Coordinates|| / ,|
|Broke ground||August 11, 1971|
|Opened||August 3, 1975|
|Owner||Louisiana Stadium/Expo District, Glenn Menard (Manager)|
|Surface||Monsanto "Mardi Grass" turf (1975–2003)|
Sportexe Momentum Turf (2006–2009)
UBU-Intensity Series-S5-M Synthetic Turf (2010–present)
Concrete for multipurpose events
|Construction cost||$134 million (Initial)|
($547 million in 2020 dollars)
$193 million (2005–06 repairs)
Renovations: ($210 million in 2020 dollars)
|Architect||Curtis and Davis Associated|
Edward B. Silverstein & Associates
Nolan, Norman & Nolan
|Structural engineer||Sverdrup & Parcel|
Thornton Tomasetti (2006 repairs)
|General Contractor||Huber, Hunt, & Nichols/Blount Joint Venture|
|Capacity||American football: 76,468|
|New Orleans Saints (NFL) (1975–present)|
Sugar Bowl (NCAA) (1975–present)
Tulane Green Wave (NCAA) (1975–present)
New Orleans Jazz (NBA) (1975–1979)
New Orleans Pelicans (American Association) (1977)
New Orleans Breakers (USFL) (1984)
New Orleans Night (AFL) (1991–1992)
BCS National Championship Game (NCAA) 2008, 2012
Super Bowl (NFL) (1978, 1981, 1986, 1990, 1997, 2002, 2013)
New Orleans Bowl (NCAA) (2001–present)
NCAA Men's Division I Basketball Championship (1982, 1987, 1993, 2003, 2012)
NFC Championship Game (NFL) (2010)
Louisiana High School Athletic Association state championship games (1981–present) (NFL)
The Mercedes-Benz Superdome, previously known as the Louisiana Superdome and colloquially known as the Superdome, is a sports and exhibition arena located in the Central Business District of New Orleans, Louisiana, USA. Plans were drawn up in 1967 by the New Orleans modernist architectural firm of Curtis and Davis.
It is home to the NFL's New Orleans Saints, the NCAA's Division I-A Tulane Green Wave football team (the largest football stadium in Conference USA), the State Farm Bayou Classic, the R+L Carriers New Orleans Bowl, the Allstate Sugar Bowl and, every fourth year, the BCS National Championship game. It is one of the few facilities in the US 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 it 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.
It is the largest fixed domed structure in the world. Its steel frame covers a Script error expanse. Its Script error dome is made of a Lamella multi-ringed frame and has a diameter of Script error.
In 2005, it came to international attention when it was damaged by Hurricane Katrina and housed thousands of people seeking shelter from the storm.
On October 3, 2011, it was announced that Mercedes-Benz purchased naming rights to the stadium. The new name took effect on October 23, 2011. It is the third stadium that has naming rights from Mercedes-Benz (and first in the United States), after the Mercedes-Benz Arena in Stuttgart, Germany and the Mercedes-Benz Arena in Shanghai, China.
The Superdome is located on Script error of land, including the former Girod Street Cemetery. The dome has an interior space of Script error, a height of Script error, a dome diameter of Script error, and a total floor area of Script error.
The Superdome has a listed football seating capacity of 76,468 (expanded) or 69,703 (not expanded), a maximum basketball seating capacity of 73,432, 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. 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. In 2011, 3,500 seats were added, increasing the Superdome's capacity to 76,468.
The chronology of the capacity for football is as follows:
- 74,452 (1975–1978)
- 71,330 (1979–1984)
- 71,647 (1985–1986)
- 69,723 (1987–1989)
- 69,065 (1990–1994)
- 70,852 (1995)
- 64,992 (1996)
- 69,420 (1997)
- 69,028 (1998)
- 70,054 (1999)
- 64,900 (2000)
- 70,020 (2001)
- 68,500 (2002–2003)
- 64,900 (2004–2005)
- 70,003 (2006)
- 72,968 (2007–2010)
- 76,468 (2011–present)
The Superdome's primary tenant is the NFL's New Orleans Saints. The team regularly draws capacity crowds.
The NFL has hosted six Super Bowls at the Superdome, with a seventh scheduled for 2013.
In college football, Tulane University plays all of their home games at the stadium, although the school is planning to build a smaller on-campus stadium and move there in 2014. The BCS National Championship Game has been played at the Superdome four times. Two other bowl games are also played there annually: the Sugar Bowl and New Orleans Bowl. The Superdome also hosts the Bayou Classic, a major regular-season game between two of the state's historically black colleges and universities, Grambling State and Southern.
Home field advantage
Since the Superdome's reopening in the wake of Hurricane Katrina and the increased success of the New Orleans Saints, the Superdome has developed a reputation for having a very strong home field advantage. While all domed stadiums possess this quality to some degree, the Superdome is known to get extremely loud during games, especially during offensive drives by the visiting team.
During a pregame interview before the Minnesota Vikings' opening game of the 2010 NFL season against the Saints, Brett Favre, reflecting on the Vikings' loss to the Saints in the 2009–10 NFC Championship Game, said of the Superdome: "That was, by far, the most hostile environment I've ever been in. You couldn't hear anything." It was during that loss that some of the Vikings players elected to wear earplugs, including Favre. It was the first game of the season that they had chosen to do so.
The first baseball game in the Superdome was an exhibition between the Minnesota Twins and the Houston Astros on April 6, 1976. 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.
The NBA's New Orleans Jazz used the Superdome as their home court, from 1975–1979. In 1977, the Jazz set a then-record in attendance for an NBA game, with 35,077 watching the Jazz led by Pete "Pistol Pete" Maravich against the Philadelphia 76ers.
The Superdome has been the venue of several major boxing events, such as when Muhammad Ali won the world Heavyweight title for the third time by beating Leon Spinks in their rematch, the rematch between Sugar Ray Leonard and Roberto Duran and the Wilfredo Gomez-Lupe Pintor, Thomas Hearns-Wilfred Benitez doubleheader.
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 for football, baseball and basketball [with moveable field level stands that would be arranged specifically for each sport and areas with dirt (for the bases and pitchers mound) covered with metal plates on the stadium floor (they were covered by the artificial turf during football games)] and there are also Meeting Rooms that could be rented for many different purposes. 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 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 for destruction on the day the Superdome opened, although the original concrete sections stood on the Tulane University campus until November 1979.
The original artificial turf playing surface in the Superdome was produced by Monsanto specifically for the Superdome and was named "Mardi Grass."
20th century special events
The Superdome converted its artificial grass surface to Field Turf midway through the 2003 football season on November 16. As part of the major renovation for the 2010 football season the Superdome installed UBU Sports Speed S5-M synthetic turf system.
Effect of Hurricane Katrina
Script error 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.
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.
After being damaged from the flooding disaster, a new Sportexe MomentumTurf surface was installed for the 2006 season.
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.
In early 2006, the Superdome began a $320 million renovation in three phases. First, the stadium was repaired and refurbished from damage suffered during Hurricane Katrina. In 2008, new windows were installed to bring natural light into the building. The roof-facing of the Superdome was remodeled with a solid white hue. Between 2009 and 2010, the entire outer layer of the stadium, more than Script error of aluminum siding, was replaced with new aluminum panels and insulation, returning the building to its original champagne bronze color. An innovative barrier system for drainage was added. The dome now resembles its original facade.
In addition, escalators were added to the outside of the club rooms. Each suite has 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 was also installed, allowing fans to purchase concessions with credit cards throughout the stadium for the first time.
During the summer of 2010 the Superdome installed Script error of the Speed S5-M synthetic turf system by UBU Sports, the Superdome now has the largest continuous synthetic turf system in the NFL.
Beginning in 2011, demolition and new construction began to the lower bowl of the stadium, reconfiguring it to increase seating by 3,500, widening the plaza concourse, building two bunker club lounges and adding additional concession stands. Crews tore down the temporary stairs that lead from Champions Square to the Dome, and replaced them with permanent steps. Installation of express elevators that take coaches and media from the ground level of the stadium to the press box was completed. New Script error bunker lounges on each side of the stadium were built. The lounges are equipped with flat-screen TVs, granite counter tops and full-service bars. The lounges can serve 4,500 fans, whose old plaza seats were upgraded to premium tickets, giving those fans leather chairs with cup-holders. The plaza level was extended, closing in space between the concourse and plaza seating, adding new restrooms and concession areas. The renovations also ended the stadium's ability to convert to a baseball configuration. The renovations were completed in late June 2011 in time for the Essence Music Festival. Now that all three phases of the renovation are complete, the Superdome is one of the most up-to-date facilities in the U.S.
The Superdome had not taken on corporate naming rights, until Mercedes-Benz acquired the rights in 2011. Though the stadium is owned by the state of Louisiana, the New Orleans Saints' lease gives the team the authority to sell the rights. Saints owner Tom Benson also owns Mercedes-Benz dealerships in New Orleans and San Antonio, Texas.
- ↑ "Superdome gets makeover with big games ahead". CBS. http://www.cbssports.com/nfl/story/14605228/superdome-gets-makeover-with-big-games-ahead.
- ↑ "Mercedes-Benz has Superdome deal". ESPN.com. Associated Press. October 4, 2011. http://espn.go.com/nfl/story/_/id/7058178/mercedes-benz-buys-naming-rights-superdome-home-new-orleans-saints. Retrieved October 4, 2011.
- ↑ Cite error: Invalid
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- Official Mercedes-Benz Superdome website
- The Times-Picayune in 175 years – 1975: The Superdome opens in New Orleans
- Louisiana Superdome at Structurae
- Tulane Green Wave – Louisiana Superdome
- Southeastern Architectural Archive, Special Collections Division, Tulane University Libraries
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