Special Feature: Where the Saints, and Others, Go Marching In

Since opening in August 2010, Champions Square in New Orleans has not only been the premier venue for Saints fans to gear up for games, it's become a popular destination for concerts, festivals and corporate events.

The 121,000-square-foot outdoor space, with a capacity of 7,000-plus, is located adjacent to the recently refurbished Mercedes-Benz Superdome, the home of the NFL's Saints, and the New Orleans Arena, the home of the recently rechristened NBA franchise New Orleans Pelicans (formerly the Hornets).

In the competition for events, the combination of these venues and location gives SMG a clear advantage, says Alan Freeman, GM of SMG New Orleans and all three venues.

"We can hold a wide array of events, large and small, in our facilities, which gives us a major competitive advantage over other venues nationally," he adds.

Freeman says multipurpose outdoor space has allowed SMG to expand its presence in New Orleans while adding value to its existing venues. "Champions Square makes our entire campus more attractive by adding an outdoor entertainment space that can be used in conjunction with larger events or as a stand-alone venue," he says. Champions Square enhances SMG's legacy in New Orleans. Since 1977 the company has managed the Superdome, which recently underwent a $50 million renovation. "We couldn't pull off our complex-wide event schedule without that experience," Freeman says.