Taylor Swift Will Fill ‘Blank Space’ in 2024 Superdome Schedule
NEW ORLEANS — In 2008, then up-and-coming country music singer Taylor Swift appeared at the Family Gras festival near Lakeside Mall in Jefferson Parish and signed autographs for fans even though her show was rained out. Only 19 years old at the time, she drove to the gig from Nashville with her parents in the car.
My, how times have changed.
First, Swift spent the last decade and a half becoming a genre-defying international superstar with serious staying power. Then, beginning in March 2023, her Eras Tour has absolutely dominated the live touring industry and is expected to earn a record-breaking $1 billion in sales. This week, Swift announced she is adding 15 dates in 2024 to the tour in four North American cities.
A three-night stand next October 25-27 in the Caesars Superdome is on the schedule — and local tourism boosters couldn’t be happier.
“Taylor Swift announcing New Orleans [tour dates] will have a tremendous benefit to our economy,” said Kelly Schulz, a senior vice president at New Orleans & Company, the city’s destination management organization. “It will likely sell out the Caesars Superdome and 26,000 hotel rooms within two miles of the Superdome, generate tax revenues and showcase New Orleans as a booming destination built to host.”
For ASM Global, which operates the Superdome, the event is long-awaited welcome news. The venue missed out on the first round of the Eras Tour because of schedule conflicts, but now the planets have aligned.
ASM worked with the Saints and the NFL to make sure there wasn’t a game scheduled in New Orleans that weekend, and the roughly $500 million Superdome renovations will have just been completed. The Swift shows will be a test run, of sorts, because a few months later the Dome will host the NFL’s biggest annual event: the 2025 Super Bowl.
The announcement this week added to the energy at ASM’s offices, where preparations are being made for the start of the 2023 Saints season and a Sept. 2 Garth Brooks concert.
“It’s been busy around here as you can probably imagine,” said Evan Holmes, ASM’s general manager of the Caesars Superdome and Smoothie King Center. “We had a couple of folks reach out from the media, but it’s funny how many friends I have that I didn’t realize I had. They’re coming out of the woodwork left and right.”
Holmes said he’s been hearing rave reviews about the Eras Tour from his colleagues around the country. Word is the events are packed full of enthusiastic fans ready to spend money on merchandise and concessions.
“The show has been in five other ASM buildings during this most recent leg, so I’m on all these phone calls with all these other general managers and they’re talking about just how crazy it is and how great it is,” he said. “We’ve been sitting on the sidelines hoping to get a taste of it.”
Notably, this will be the first time in the Dome’s 49-year-history that it has hosted multiple nights of the same artist. But the nearest analog, Essence Fest, has certainly taught the venue how to accommodate a multi-night affair.
Holmes said promoters chose New Orleans because they know the city will draw fans from all over the map who have an affinity for the city’s unique charms. A big part of that is the proximity of the Superdome to other downtown attractions. By contrast, most other venues of this size are located far far away from the center of town.
“We have a model that other cities try to replicate,” he said. “We’ve got the Golden Triangle, right? You got the Superdome and the sports campus. A mile away, you have the convention center. And a mile from that you have the French Quarter. And in the middle of it, you got tens of thousands of hotel rooms, world-class cuisine, all the entertainment you’d ever want. And oh, by the way, you can walk from one to the other with a drink in your hand and people are playing music.”
Swift fans will be among the first to enjoy some serious upgrades at the Dome. There will be three new atria to make it easier to get in and out of the building, expanded concourses with new food and drink amenities and some enhanced suites, among other improvements. Construction has been ongoing and will be noticeable during the 2023-24 Saints season, but everything should be wrapped up by the fall of next year.
Holmes hopes the Eras Tour stops lead to many more like it, but he’s just as excited to wrap up renovations and get back to hosting all sorts of gatherings, whether it be another major professional wrestling event or just a garden-variety home and garden show.
“I don’t care if you’re here for to buy a boat or to buy a potted plant or to see Taylor Swift,” he said. “You’re still going to spend money. And that’s what this is all about. Not only with us, but in the community.”