Champions Square is an outdoor festival plaza located adjacent to the Mercedes-Benz Superdome in New Orleans, Louisiana. It is known as the premier tailgating space for sports events held at the stadium and the nearby Smoothie King Center.
Champions Square (c.2011)
|Full name||Champions Square presented by Verizon|
New Orleans, LA 70113
|Location||Central Business District|
(leased by the Louisiana Stadium and Exposition District)
|Opened||August 21, 2010|
|Construction cost||$13.5 million|
($15.8 million in 2019 dollars)
|Architect||Eskew+Dumez+Ripple and Ellerbe Becket|
|Project manager||Aries Group|
|General contractor||Broadmoor, LLC|
|Main contractors||Gibbs Construction|
The amphitheater has seating for up to 9,000 spectators for special events, 7,000 in a general admission setting and 4,500 for reseated seating.
The site was originally the location of the Girod Street Cemetery from 1822 to 1957. The cemetery was moved prior to the construction of the Superdome, and subsequently the New Orleans Centre shopping mall was erected on the site. In 2005, the shopping mall closed due to Hurricane Katrina. The shopping mall never re-opened, and was almost entirely demolished in the Spring of 2010 to begin construction of Champions Square. The former Macy's department store area and the parking garage, now called "Champions Garage", are the only remnants of the original shopping mall.
The 121,000 square-foot plaza is centered on the Mercedes-Benz Superdome, Smoothie King Center, Hyatt Regency, Benson Tower, and numerous parking garages and food courts. Phase I included the construction of the plaza and staircase leading from the Superdome. Construction initially began in the Spring of 2010 and Champions Square formally opened August 21, 2010.
Phase II further improved the square following the 2010-2011 NFL season with the installation of a new permanent grand staircase with amphitheater seating, permanent restroom facilities, stone pavement, LED lighting, palm trees, and a vine wall spanning the length of the plaza alongside the Superdome.
Before each NFL football game, the square hosts concerts which are free and open to the public. The square is only open to pedestrian traffic. Inside the square, there are numerous food and beverage options either in the food court or outside under tents.
Champions Square has become the site for the annual "Gleason Gras", whose purpose is to raise awareness and funds for Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS).
In 2013 construction was completed on a four level balcony added to the southern side Benson Tower overlooking the square. The addition also houses a secondary studio for the Benson-owned Fox station WVUE-DT (Channel 8), which airs their morning newscasts, Saints and sports-related programming from that facility.
The Times-Picayune reported on August 15, 2010 that Phase III would include building out the façade and adding a permanent food court, and would be completed sometime after New Orleans hosted Super Bowl XLVII in 2013. Beyond that, planners have envisioned the area will be successful enough to build a residential tower sprouting out of the top of the former Macy's department store space.
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- Spera, Keith (February 24, 2014). "Bold Sphere Music at Champions Square concert series launches with Jake Owen, Boyz II Men". The Times-Picayune. Advance Publications. Retrieved March 26, 2017.
- "SPHERE IN SQUARE". Nola Defender. May 1, 2014. Archived from the original on March 27, 2017. Retrieved March 26, 2017.
- Scott, Robert Travis (May 19, 2010). "Money approved to convert Superdome bridge into gateway steps". The Times-Picayune. Advance Publications. Retrieved March 26, 2017.
- "CHAMPIONS SQUARE presented by Verizon". Mercedes-Benz Superdome Official Website. Archived from the original on January 26, 2012. Retrieved January 19, 2012.
- Hogan, Nakia (August 15, 2010). "Champions Square will open for New Orleans Saints' first exhibition game at Superdome". The Times-Picayune. Advance Publications. Retrieved March 26, 2017.
- Hogan, Nakia (June 21, 2011). "Superdome's new bells and whistles are almost ready for prime time". The Times-Picayune. Advance Publications. Retrieved March 26, 2017.
- "Mercedes-Benz Superdome and Champions Square Enhancements". Mercedes-Benz Superdome Official Website. Archived from the original on January 6, 2012. Retrieved January 20, 2012.
- "'Gleason Gras' To Take Place At Champions Square On Sunday, November 27". SportsNOLA. LeSEA Broadcasting. Archived from the original on December 15, 2011. Retrieved February 18, 2012.
- "WVUE Fox 8 at Benson Tower". Woodward Design and Build. August 12, 2013. Archived from the original on 2013-11-05. Retrieved November 5, 2013.
- "State-of-the-Art Production Studio Opening Adjacent To The Mercedes-Benz Superdome". New Orleans Saints Official Website. August 16, 2012. Archived from the original on November 5, 2013. Retrieved November 5, 2013.
- "A new entertainment sector and expanded hotel hope to shake up economically moribund area near the Superdome". The Times-Picayune. Advance Publications. August 15, 2010. Retrieved March 26, 2017.