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SMG retains New Orleans Arena management deal despite scare

New Orleans HornetsSMG, which has held the management deal for the Superdome and New Orleans Arena for 30-some years without a competitive bid process, will retain the deal despite an attempt by some Louisiana lawmakers to put the contract up for bid.

Legislation that would have required a new bid process was pulled from the table today. SMG won the management deal after competitive bidding, but the deal has been automatically renewed ever since. Without state intervention, the contract now extends to 2017 under the same terms.

It wasn’t as through there was a lot of dissatisfaction with SMG — indeed, the firm was lauded for its efforts to get the Superdome up and running after Hurricane Katrina, as well as its success in bringing in high-profile events — but at a time when most states are cash-strapped, the temptation was there to see if a better deal was in the offing. Given that the state management fee is set at $1.4 million, a better deal probably wasn’t out there.

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