First Phase of Superdome Renovations to Debut at Aug. 13 Saints Game

In the newly renovated half of the Caesars Superdome, there are many new places to grab a beer, including this massive concourse bar overlooking the action on the turf. (Photo by Rich Collins)

NEW ORLEANS — Some Caesars Superdome and Saints insiders refer to the first preseason game of the season as the “brother in law game,” because so many season ticket holders give their tickets away to friends and family.

Well, on Sunday, Aug. 13, all those lucky freeloaders will be the first to experience the Superdome’s glitzy new renovations designed by Trahan Architects and built by Broadmoor, the New Orleans-based general contractor.

Changes include new beautiful (and speedy) elevators to the terrace level, two new atria, many fancy new club lounges and so, so many new places to buy beer, including quick “grab and go” stops right inside some of the entrances. The old Superdome exit ramps have been completely removed to make way for massive new concourses full of new food and drink options and other guest amenities.

At an Aug. 11 press conference and tour, officials from the Saints and ASM Global, which operates the Superdome, said the changes are all about enhancing the fan experience and making the building relevant for another 25 years or more. The price tag? Just about $500 million dollars, although all the money hasn’t been spent yet and there’s one more major phase of work to do beginning next February.

Right now, about half of the building is renovated and the other is waiting its turn. Officials said that the contrast between the two zones is “stark.”

In the renovated section, the new escalators will transport guests all the way up to the Dome’s top level (the terrace) in a little over a minute instead of 5-7 minutes. Above, there are faux skylights with high-tech light fixtures and decorative aluminum that mimics the champagne shades of the Dome’s exterior. The spaces are beautiful and modern even as they connect the design to the iconic building’s original 1970s roots.

ASM said the renovations aren’t all about looks.

Transaction times to purchase food or drinks will be cut from a few minutes down to a few seconds, in some cases, thanks to new “grab and go” systems. And the new concessions areas will improve the point of service ratios at the Dome from one per every 150 guests to one per 90 guests. That means less time in line and more time watching the action, said officials. New metal detector technology, which was already in place last season, speeds up the entry process.

It should be noted that Gate C (near the steps to Champions Square) will only be available to premium ticket holders. Other guests will use the new atrium entrances on either side of it. There will likely be some confusion for the first game or two, but officials expect fans to get the hang of the ingress/egress systems quickly. In the meantime, new signage, or “wayfinding,” will guide visitors through all the changes.


The easiest and cheapest way to get the renovations finished would have been to move the Saints somewhere else for two years, said ASM execs, but there wasn’t any logical place the team could go, so the renovation team worked around multiple football seasons and other major events and has still made great strides. Officials said the heaviest part of the construction workload is finished and that they expect to meet or beat the August 2024 completion deadline.

Dannis Lauscha, president of the New Orleans Saints, said there’s no better facility for hosting NFL games — and this will be doubly true when the Saints host the Super Bowl in 2025. The building’s location near the French Quarter, Morial Convention Center and 25,000 downtown hotels rooms create conveniences that new buildings way out in the boondocks can’t compete with.

“This building is as state of the art as any new building,” said Lauscha. “We’re hosting the Super Bowl [in 2025] and we’ve already submitted our application for future ones. Honestly, our biggest issue with hosting the Super Bowl has nothing to do with this building. It’s 100 percent about the calendar and whether we line up with Mardi Gras. They want to be here. They love what we’re doing.”

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Caesars Superdome officials said new escalators speed up ‘ingress and egress’ times considerably. (Photo by Rich Collins)

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