Sports Scene

Along with being one of the premier convention and travel destinations, the Big Easy is one of the most popular event cities in the country. The same qualities that bring millions of visitors to New Orleans annually make the Crescent City an ideal place to hold a large sports event.

With thousands of hotel rooms in the metropolitan area, a pleasant climate all year round, with major attractions within walking or a short driving distance, some of the most famous restaurants in the world, plus a host of venues make New Orleans a great sports town. The city has lavished its special brand of hospitality upon sports fans on numerous occasions, including several Super Bowls, NCAA Final Four tournaments, SEC basketball, Olympic track trials, the annual All-State Sugar Bowl and the Zurich PGA Classic.

To attract sporting events of this calibre, a city not only must have qualities that make people want to visit, but must also have a first class stadium. Most of the above listed events take place in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome, the premier multi-sport venue in the state. The Superdome is comparable to any domed stadium in the nation. And, it is located just minutes from the French Quarter and within walking distance of several outstanding hotels and restaurants.

The Superdome seats 72,675 in chair-back comfort. It also features four separate and distinct meeting rooms capable of serving a thousand guests in each, all while a 72-thousand plus event is underway. The Republican National Convention met here to nominate the elder George Bush to the Presidency and set new Dome attendance records for a Holy Year Rally blessed by the presence of Pope John Paul II.

Then there’s the 20,000 seat New Orleans Arena which sits adjacent to the Superdome and is the home of the NBA New Orleans Hornets. The Arena has also played host to major concerts and the Ringling Brothers-Barnum & Bailey circus.

Baseball has always been popular in New Orleans. Minor league ball is contested in the area’s new Zephyr Field, a 3,000 seat stadium home to the “Zs.” Zephyr Field is located in Metairie, a 15-minuite run from downtown. Both Tulane and the University of New Orleans field outstanding college teams every year and each boasts its very own first-rate ball park.

Of course, no mention of sports and the Superdome would be complete without noting the importance to the entire area of the NFL’s New Orleans Saints. The Saints play all of their home games in the Dome, routinely all are sell-outs. And the Superdome is home, as well, to the annual All State Sugar Bowl classic, one of the four major New Year’s Bowl Championship Series (BCS) events that determines the best of college football each year. Plan ahead if you’re looking for a Sugar Bowl ticket. The Superdome also hosts the New Orleans Bowl played in early December, the Tulane Green Wave home football games, and the annual classic Thanksgiving battle between rivals Grambling College and Southern University.

Golf is a highlight of the New Orleans sports scene each year through the presence of the Zurich Classic. This PGA Tour event is contested each year at the Tournament Players Championship Course on the West Bank of the Mississippi in Westwego, a 20-minute drive from downtown.

The combination of first-class facilities, a sweet variety of events and the natural drawing power of the city makes New Orleans an ideal location for a sports vacation year-round.

This material may be reproduced for editorial purposes of promoting New Orleans. Please attribute stories toNew Orleans Convention and Visitors Bureau. 2020 St. Charles Avenue, New Orleans, LA 70130 504-566-5019. www.neworleanscvb.com. Revised 2009.