Mercedes-Benz Superdome

Hey Blake,

How did the Superdome get its name? Were other names for the building ever considered?

Dear reader,

The name Superdome came from the building's chief promoter, visionary businessman Dave Dixon, who is responsible for so many chapters of the history of the building now called the Mercedes-Benz Superdome.

On Nov. 4, 1965, Dixon joined New Orleans Mayor Victor Schiro in announcing plans for a $24 million multipurpose, enclosed, air-conditioned stadium. The Houston Astrodome, the world's first domed stadium, had opened seven months earlier.

Peter Finney's Nov. 5, 1965 article in The States-Item explained that "fifty percent of the construction costs have been pledged … provided the city is granted a franchise in either the National or American Football League." That happened one year later.

In 1965, Dixon predicted the stadium would revolutionize sports in the city. "It will be an all-purpose stadium for use by the community, not just a pro football team," he said, envisioning a home not just for football but also baseball, basketball, boxing and track. In a Feb. 3, 1966 Times-Picayune article, Gov. John McKeithen, an enthusiastic proponent of the project, proclaimed "this stadium will be the finest in the world."

In his 2008 book, "The Saints, the Superdome and the Scandal: An Insider's Perspective," Dixon explained the history of the building's name, calling it an "easy" choice. "I selected the name early on, right at the beginning of our stadium and (NFL) franchise efforts," he said. "Actually, I chose the name while the Astrodome was a mammoth hole in the ground over in Houston. I considered only two names, Superdome or Ultradome. To my ear, 'Superdome' sounded far better than 'Ultradome.'"

Dixon points out that his use of the word "super" even came before the first Super Bowl, which was played in 1967.

After years of construction delays and a price tag that ballooned to $163 million, the Louisiana Superdome opened to rave reviews on Aug. 3, 1975. In 2011, Mercedes-Benz purchased naming rights for the building. Those naming rights are in place through 2021.