New Orleans Saints and Pelicans owner Tom Benson will transfer ownership of the teams to his wife, Gayle, not his granddaughter, Rita Benson LeBlanc. The plan will go into effect once Tom Benson dies.
Benson LeBlanc’s relationship with the franchises has ended after almost 10 years. Here’s a look at her timeline with the franchises and some of her career highlights.
-- January 2006: Named owner/executive vice president of the Saints
-- May 2012: Named owner/vice chairman of the board of the Saints and Pelicans
-- Three-time Sports Business Journal’s “40 Under 40” selection (2007, 2008, 2011) and “40 Under 40” Hall of Fame member.
-- New Orleans CityBusiness “Woman of the Year” in 2010
-- 2014 NBA All-Star Weekend Host Committee Co-Chairman
-- Super Bowl XLVII Host Committee Executive Board member
-- “Why does everybody care about my dating life? … But I have friends tell me I’m intimidating. Why the hell am I intimidating? – 2012 espnW profile
-- “I always had a romance with the city. I love the architecture, the food … I felt everything was better in New Orleans. Even as a kid.” – 2012 espnW profile
-- “Other owners buy a team so they can focus on the players and the game, but my grandfather has always been passionate about finance and the business aspects. The office is his comfort zone. The actual game itself is the priority of each team’s on-field and on-court departments.” -- 2014 comments to The New Orleans Advocate at Tom Benson’s induction into the Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame
-- “It is probably the most important moment of my job — in my life, right now — to bring this home for him. There’s nothing more top of mind right now for him — he’s 86, for his legacy.” – 2014 comments to The Advocate before franchise failed to land 2018 Super Bowl