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Superdome NamingRights to Be Sold

August 6, 2001

NEW ORLEANS (AP) _ Envision, a sports marketing firm whose president coordinated the naming of Philips Arena in Atlanta and the Staples Center in Los Angeles, was chosen Monday to find a company to buy the naming rights to the Louisiana Superdome.

Envision was created as a joint venture between former ProServ managing director Jeff Knapple and billionaire Philip Anschutz, owner of the NHL’s Los Angeles Kings.

Knapple, president and CEO of Los Angeles-based Envision, negotiated a 20-year, $185 million deal for Phillips Arena. The Staples Center deal was for 20 years and $116 million.

Doug Thornton of SMG, the private company that manages the dome for the state, said he believes Envision can work a similarly lucrative deal for the Superdome. If so, it would be a key element of efforts to provide more revenue for the New Orleans Saints and keep the NFL franchise in New Orleans.

State leaders have said they believe the naming rights are worth $3 million to $5 million a year, money the Legislature has said can go to the Saints as part of an incentive package to keep them from leaving.

Alan Zaunbrecher, a member of the state board that oversees the dome, said Envision will strive to complete a deal before the next Super Bowl, which will be played in the dome in January.

Envision was chosen from three finalists selected by a committee appointed by Gov. Mike Foster. The other companies considered were Clear Channel Entertainment of Washington, D.C. and Cleveland-based IMG.

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