With New Orleans Mayor LaToya Cantrell declining the New Orleans Saints’ request to have fans in their stadium due to COVID-19 concerns, the franchise is now looking to play its home games at LSU’s Tiger Stadium in Baton Rouge. The Saints’ game operations staff met with LSU officials today to discuss the possibility.
Tiger Stadium is currently seating 25 percent of its 100,000-seat capacity. The Saints requested 25 percent capacity for its 74,295-seat Mercedes-Benz Superdome, which means moving to LSU would allow them to have even more fans than they originally asked for.
In order for fans to return to the Superdome, both Cantrell and Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards must sign off. Edwards gave his approval two weeks ago when the Saints played the Packers, but Cantrell hasn’t budged. The mayor has allowed the Saints to host 750 friends and family members of the team’s players, coaches and staff. The city hasn’t ruled out the possibility of having fans in the Superdome later in the season.
The league approved of teams playing recorded crowd noise at 70 decibels, but the Saints have had games get as loud as 128 decibels, similar to that of a hard rock concert. “The crowd noise that the league approved is nothing compared to what the Dome sounds like,” Saints star running back Alvin Kamara told NOLA.com. “I feel like they kind of played us on that.” NFL commissioner Roger Goodell has said the league doesn’t believe there’s a competitive advantage to having fans in stadiums.
Only one team, the Miami Dolphins, has received state clearance to allow fans at full capacity in their stadium. Most of the NFL’s other teams are either allowing partial capacity or no fans at all.