BATON ROUGE, La. - The New Orleans Saints are meeting with LSU officials to possibly arrange hosting games in Baton Rouge in an effort to avoid New Orleans' stricter coronavirus rules.
Both university and Saints team officials told WBRZ Tuesday that both groups were in talks.
“These are extraordinary times and we are here to help our great neighbors in any way that we can," LSU Senior Associate Athletic Director Robert Munson said in a statement. "We continue to have very productive discussions with the Saints organization and, if need be, are prepared to host the Saints in Tiger Stadium this season.”
Read the full statement from Saints Vice President of Communications Greg Bensel below.
"We can confirm that our game operations staff is meeting with LSU officials today to discuss potentially hosting future Saints home games at Tiger Stadium in Baton Rouge. LSU has been gracious and enthusiastic regarding hosting our future games and we very much appreciate their partnership. We have also discussed the possibility of moving our home games to LSU with the NFL and they are aware of our exploring this option. Obviously, our overwhelming preference is to play our games in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome with partial fan attendance but there has been no indication from the city on when, or if, this might be approved."
The discussions come after New Orleans Mayor Latoya Cantrell has repeatedly refused the team's request to host fans at the Superdome, despite getting approval from the state earlier this year.
The Saints have played in Tiger Stadium before. Back in 2005, the team hosted multiple games in Baton Rouge after Hurricane Katrina ravaged New Orleans.
Baton Rouge Mayor Sharon Weston Broome said in a statement the city is ready to host the team but also offered a reminder that fans still must obey local COVID-19 restrictions.
"These are trying times for our state and nation. We're making real progress here in East Baton Rouge, and I welcome the New Orleans Saints here should they choose to come.
While health precautions and quality of life don’t have to be mutually exclusive, this is not an open invitation to ignore precautions we have put in place to protect everyone.
Should they choose to come, the Saints and Saints fans will be required to adhere to the same guidelines put in place for college football games - social distancing with 25% occupancy, required masks, and no tailgating. If we all do our part, we can begin to return to normalcy.
We are all part of the Who Dat Nation, and we're happy to welcome them to Baton Rouge."
LSU is currently allowing roughly 25,000 fans into Tiger Stadium for each of its home games.
Thursday, WWL TV in New Orleans reported Cantrell spoke with both the Saints and Broome about the move. The New Orleans mayor said she is not against it.
"I don't have any concerns with that at all..." she said. "That could be a great place temporarily. It is an outdoor stadium, and they're allowing fans in the stadium. Right now, there is no way to allow 20,000 fans in the stands at this time."