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The Louisiana Superdome, often informally referred to simply as the Superdome, The Dome or the New Orleans Superdome is a large, multi-purpose sports and exhibition facility located in the Central Business Districtmarker of New Orleans, Louisianamarker. It was designed in 1967 by the New Orleans modernist architectural firm of Curtis and Davis, which also designed the main branch of the New Orleans Public Library (1956-58).

The Superdome is primarily home to the NFL's New Orleans Saints, NCAA's Tulane Green Wave football team and the Sugar Bowl college football game. It is also one of the few facilities in the United States which can adequately host major sporting events such as the Super Bowl and the Final Four; as such, given New Orleans' popularity as a tourist destination, whenever the Superdome bids to host such an event it routinely makes the "short list" of candidates being considered.

The Superdome is the largest fixed domed structure in the world. Its structural steel frame covers a expanse. Its tall dome is made of a Lamella multi-ringed frame and has a diameter of .

In 2005, the Superdome came to international attention when it housed thousands of people seeking shelter from Hurricane Katrina, and was damaged in the storm.

Capacity

The Superdome has a listed football seating capacity of 72,003 (expanded) or 69,703 (not expanded), a maximum basketball seating capacity of 55,675, 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 . A 1980s Rolling Stones concert attracted more than 87,500 spectators . 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 [citation needed].

Stadium history

The brainchild of local sports visionary David Dixon, (who decades later founded the United States Football League), the idea for the Superdome was born while Dixon was attempting to convince the NFL to award a franchise to New Orleans. After hosting several exhibition games at Tulane Stadiummarker 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 Louisianamarker, John McKeithen. When they toured the Astrodomemarker in Houstonmarker, Texasmarker 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 but without consideration for professional baseball. 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 Montgomerymarker, Alabamamarker 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 Stadiummarker 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 first Super Bowl played in the stadium was Super Bowl XII in January 1978, the first in prime time.

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 on the day the Superdome opened, although the original concrete sections stood on the Tulane Universitymarker campus until November 1979.

The Superdome is located on of land, including the former Girod Street Cemetery. The dome has an interior space of , a height of , a dome diameter of , and a total floor area of .

The New Orleans Arenamarker, adjacent to the Louisiana Superdome, opened on October 19, 1999. A smaller conventional indoor arena, it was designed by Arthur Q. Davis, whose former firm had designed the Superdome.

The Superdome converted its artificial grass surface to Field Turf midway through the 2003 football season, replacing the original AstroTurf surface on November 16. After being damaged from the flooding of Hurricane Katrina in 2005, a new Sportexe MomentumTurf surface was installed for the 2006 season.

Baseball

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 Coliseummarker 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 Stadiummarker.

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.

Hurricane Katrina

Effect of Hurricane Katrina

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. During the ordeal, the stadium housed about 30,000 people.

Reopening after Katrina

Contractors repair the roof to prepare for the reopening of the Superdome.
(July 10, 2006)
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.

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 fesitivities including a free outdoor concert by the Goo Goo Dolls before fans were allowed in, a pregame 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.

The first bowl game played in the Superdome after Katrina was the New Orleans Bowl won by the Troy Universitymarker Trojans 41–17 over the Rice University Owls.

New renovations

The Superdome is scheduled to undergo $320 million in new renovations in three phases, due to its contract with the New Orleans Saints. New windows have been added for natural lighting, and an expected face lift will make the roof-facing a solid white hue and the sides of the dome panels a champagne bronze color. The entire outer layer of the stadium, more than 400,000 square feet of aluminum siding, with be replaced with new aluminum panels and insulation, and an innovative barrier system for drainage will be added by 2010. The dome is set to resemble its original facade.

In addition, escalators will be added to the outside of the club rooms. Each suite will have 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 is also being installed, which will allow fans to purchase concessions with credit cards throughout the stadium for the first time. Once all three phases of the renovation are completed the Superdome will be one of the most up-to-date facilities in the U.S.

Major events

Superdome at sunset prior to the 2005 Sugar Bowl

Annual Sporting Events



Rotating sporting events

The following major sporting events are those in which the Superdome is either on a rotating list of facilities to host the event, or is widely considered to be on a "short list" of facilities to host it:
  • BCS National Championship Game – As the host site of the Sugar Bowl, the Superdome rotates with the locations of the other three major college bowl games (the Rose Bowl, Fiesta Bowl, and Orange Bowl) as the host for the BCS National Championship Game. The Superdome hosted the BCS National Championship Game in 2000, 2004, and 2008, and is scheduled to host the game again in 2012.
  • Super Bowl – More Super Bowls have been played at the Louisiana Superdome than at any other sports facility: 1978, 1981, 1986, 1990, 1997, and 2002. The Superdome is currently scheduled to host the 2013 Super Bowl.
  • The Final Four – the Superdome hosted the NCAA college basketball Final Fours in 1982, 1987, 1993, and 2003. The Superdome is scheduled to host the game again in 2012.


Other notable events



Notes

  1. http://archives.chicagotribune.com/2008/jan/09/sports/chi-09-lsujan09
  2. http://www.superdome.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=20&Itemid=38
2009-ELCA National Youth Gathering

External links




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