NFL Approves Saints’ Succession Plan

    • The New Orleans Saints and New Orleans Pelicans will stay in their city under a succession plan by owner Gayle Benson.
    • A team succession plan for the Saints was approved by the NFL.

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New Orleans Saints and Pelicans owner Gayle Benson said she wants to keep the teams in New Orleans “forever” — and now has a plan to make that happen.

Benson intends to pass both teams off to one or more owners who will keep them in New Orleans and distribute the sale proceeds to New Orleans charities through a foundation. The arrangement has been approved by the National Football League. 

  • The Pelicans’ lease at the Smoothie King Center runs through 2024, and the Saints’ lease at the Caesars Superdome expires in 2025. 
  • The Superdome is in the midst of a $450 million renovation. Caesars won the rights to the stadium in a 20-year, $138 million deal in July.
  • The Saints are valued at $2.83 billion and the Pelicans at $1.35 billion, per Forbes, the 25th- and 29th-most valuable teams in their respective leagues. 

Benson inherited both teams when her husband Tom Benson passed away in 2018. He had initially planned to pass them on to his three children (from a previous marriage), but changed course in 2015, igniting a caustic legal dispute.

“I am a steward for this [organization],” Benson said. “And we help other people with it. My wish is to scatter all the good and gifts that God and Tom have given me to this city and community.”