Friday, April 29, 2005

Benson's humanitarian side?

Give me some feedback on these negotiations between Governor Blanco and Tom Benson of the Saints. I am having a hard time making sense of it.

Ordinarily I would side with the person who is simply asking that an agreement be honored, as Benson is in this case. But Benson is a decidedly unsympathetic figure, and loses the moral high ground when he refuses to open his books to show that he needs public money to survive here.

Benson is in an enviable position, with his commitment to New Orleans expiring just as investors in the Los Angeles area are ready to make some franchise owner a very rich person. I wonder, if Benson sells, if he will share his half-billion dollar windfall with the state.

Michelle Millhollon reports on the story for 2theadvocate.com, by way of the New Orleans Sun:

Gov. Kathleen Blanco said this morning that she'll make one last attempt to talk to Saints owner Tom Benson about scaling back his incentives from the state.

Benson last night rejected Blanco's offer to spruce up the Superdome in exchange for the Saints helping with the cost and getting by with less state dollars.

The rejection means the state will have to honor the current deal which guarantees the NFL franchise $186.5 million in subsidies through 2010.

Blanco said she set her hopes on Benson realizing the state can't afford the arrangement approved by lawmakers three years ago.

"I knew that there was probably little room to ask a wealthy person to give up a lot of money," Blanco said. "They don't do that easily. I thought I could encourage him from his humanitarian side, perhaps."

Blanco also made it clear today that she thought Benson should have personally informed her that he was rejecting her offer.

A Saints official told the state 15 minutes ahead of the media yesterday that the negotiations had failed.

Blanco said she does recognize the business wisdom in Benson rejecting a deal that would have given him less money.

"Obviously, he’s in the best place," she said. "Always was. This is the easiest way for him. He doesn’t have to perform. He doesn’t have to do anything but be in Louisiana."

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jbv's Competitive Edge 

2 Comments:

Blogger Schroeder said...

Could it simply be that the team doesn't make enough money for a filthy rich bastard like Benson? Search me. I'd like to see an end to the whole exclusion of sports franchises in antitrust law. Give cities the ownership of team names, and let the owners compete for access to the markets they desire. Seems to me that things are turned upside down right now.

10:50 PM  
Blogger Rich Molumby said...

I have an Entr site/blog. It pretty much covers making large amounts of money on the web.

Come and check it out if you get time :-)

10:20 AM  

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