The Louisiana Superdome
The `Dome and the Green Wave have brought college football fans from around the state together for more than four decades--back to when the Superdome opened in 1975.
Six years ago, the Green Wave football returned to a new and improved facility after a year in hiatus because of Hurricane Katrina. Once the symbol of the storm, with the world watching while Hurricane Katrina ravaged New Orleans, the Superdome has emerged as the icon of the city's rebirth, and symbolic of the spirit of those citizens who are returning and rebuilding.
The engineers and architects who worked on the massive rebuilding project advised that certain improvements could be accomplished while the Dome was under repair. In less than three years, the Superdome has undergone a $185 million, post-Katrina renovation, of which $50 million was improvements.
The upgrades include larger video boards in the two end zones, replacing the four scoreboards on the façade of the Terrace Level with brilliant LED technology, and a new LED "ribbon" board on front of the East and West Club Level sidelines. Other changes include fully remodeled concession stands on all levels, an epoxy flooring system in the concourses and walk ramps, and leatherette seats for the Club Level members.
The work in some areas continued through August, 2007, including fully refurbished box suites on both suite levels, and dramatic changes to the four large ballrooms.
Another round of renovations began in January of 2011 that included an $85 million renovation that has completely modernized the facility. The enhancements to the Superdome concluded in late June 2011. The renovations included the expansion of Plaza (100 Level) concourse, additional concession points of sale and restrooms on Plaza (100 Level), replacement and re-configuration of the East and West Side Plaza, seating Units (100 level) - offering 3,100 new seats and improved sight lines, the addition of two premium ground/field level bunker clubs, three additional elevators for improved vertical transportation and expansion of Exterior Plaza Gates A and C.
A new press box was constructed prior to the start of the 2010 football season.
Now in its second quarter-century of operation, the Superdome has lived up to its billing as "A Monument to Man's Imagination." A fitting tribute to those who dreamed and persevered, the Superdome has more than satisfied the bold statement made by the State of Louisiana that New Orleans was ready to provide a stage for the world.
The Superdome has captured the attention of millions and remains the pre-eminent domed facility in the world. Those who dared to build the world-class stadium, arena and convention center under one roof have seen it succeed beyond expectations for all three purposes.
It all began as a dream in the mind of one man, New Orleans businessman and Tulane alum, Dave Dixon. After much discussion, planning, controversy and lobbying, a constitutional amendment put before the Louisiana Legislature to build the Superdome was passed in 1966.
Construction began in August 1971, and the Superdome officially opened its doors on Aug. 3, 1975, featuring the world's largest steel-constructed room unobstructed by posts. It was also the first privately-managed, publicly-owned arena.
Tulane and Ole Miss played the first college football game in the Superdome on Sept. 20, 1975, and since that time the facility has been the home of Green Wave football, as well as the annual "Bayou Classic" game between Southern and Grambling. Two college football bowl games - the Allstate Sugar Bowl Classic and the Wyndham New Orleans Bowl - are annually held in the facility.
The awesome size and inspiring beauty of the Superdome are unsurpassed, but it is the facility's versatility that sets the Superdome far above all other stadiums. With the Superdome in the forefront, New Orleans is emerging as the sports capitol of the nation. Over the past year, the Superdome has hosted the 2012 NCAA Men's Final Four and the 2012 BCS Championship Game and will host the 2013 Super Bowl.
That is a run of big-time neutral-site sports events like no other city has ever experienced; not even New Orleans before Hurricane Katrina. Since opening in 1975, the Superdome has been the site of six Super Bowls (the city has hosted a total of nine), five Final Fours and three BCS Championships.
In 2003, the Superdome was the site of the NCAA Men's Final Four for the fourth time, and played host to college football's Bowl Championship Series (BCS) final game for the second time in January 2004 at the then-NOKIA Sugar Bowl. In January 2008, the `Dome once again served as the crowing site for the BCS national championship.
The Superdome added another milestone to its annals in April 2002 when a then-NCAA record 27,673 fans showed up to watch the Green Wave and arch-rival LSU do battle on the baseball diamond.
Also home to the NFL's Super Bowl Champion New Orleans Saints and the Louisiana High School football championships, the Superdome is recognized world-wide as a titan among sporting venues. But the Superdome is much more than a sports venue.
The building annually hosts a wide variety of annual events (see box) that make it an essential partner in the tourist economy of the city. Consider these other "super" events:
Total Land Area: 52 acres, including building, garages, and grounds
Convention/Meeting Rooms: 52, consisting of four main ballrooms, each divisible into six separate rooms; 28 reception rooms.
Private Box Suites: 137
Parking Capacity: 5,000 cars & 250 buses
Maximum Seating Capacity: Football 69,703; Expanded Football 72,003; Basketball 55,675; Baseball 64,959
Press Seating: 334 (football & baseball press boxes, and 11 broadcast/spotting booths)
Artificial Turf: Momentum by SportExe (60,000 sq. feet)
With events such as these and many others, it is no wonder that the facility has realized an economic impact of more than $4.6 billion in its nearly 40 years of operation, far exceeding all projections, while putting New Orleans "on the map" as a destination for huge events, especially in the sports arena.
One of the arena's greatest qualities is its location in the heart of New Orleans' Central Business District, just minutes from hotels, shopping, restaurants and close to nearly all parts of the city, from the Tulane campus in uptown New Orleans to the French Quarter. The convenience and proximity of the Superdome, while still offering adequate parking, sets it apart from many buildings of its kind.
Movable stands, giant screen television and removable turf are just a few of the features that further distinguish the Superdome as the largest "people place" in the history of mankind. While other multipurpose mega-arenas have grown outmoded, the Superdome has been maintained and improved. It is a state-of-the-art facility with a future as brilliant and limitless as its past.
Over the years, the Louisiana Superdome has been the site of thousands of events. Here is a list of just a few of the major sporting events and annual gatherings that are held in the Superdome:
MAJOR SPORTS EVENTS