For the sixth consecutive season, the New Orleans Saints have sold out the Superdome, *The Times-Picayune* reported Sunday.
Despite the lingering NFL lockout, the team began to offer season-ticket holders renewal packages in January with a February deadline. The same group of fans was offered first dibs on additional tickets or upgrades, with the remaining tickets opened up to people who were on waiting list in April. The stadium can hold just over 72,000 in an extended football capacity.
"Our renewal rate was at 98 percent or higher, during a time when there was labor uncertainty front and center in the news," Greg Bensel, Saints vice president of communications, said in an email to The Times-Picayune. "This is consistent with years prior. It speaks to the passion of our fans."
The facility is undergoing an $85 million renovation that began in January, building on repairs and improvements made in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. Scheduled for completion in June, the enhancements include an expansion of the 100 Level concourse and additional concession areas, the addition of two field-level bunker clubs, updated lighting and flooring and 3,100 new sideline seats and improved sight lines.
The Superdome will host several events in the coming years, including the Sugar Bowl and BCS national championship game in January 2012, the NCAA Men's Final Four in March and April of 2012 and the NCAA Women's Final Four in April 2013. In 2009, it was announced that the Superdome was awarded the 2013 Super Bowl.
The sellout streak began Sept. 25, 2006, when the Saints re-opened the Superdome over a year after Hurricane Katrina turned it into a temporary home for an estimated 25,000 to 30,000 people who were displaced by flooding.
Bensel also said that Saints staffers haven't had to worry about layoffs or furloughs, which several NFL teams are instituting with the lockout still in place.