With the Saints season starting this week, I’m curious: How much was a ticket to the first game?
When tickets for the New Orleans Saints’ inaugural season went on sale in March 1967, individual game tickets were available for $6 for a sideline seat or $4.50 in the end zone. Children’s tickets were available for $1. Season ticket packages were available for seven home games and one preseason game, all at Tulane Stadium. Season ticket packages ranged from $36 for the end zone to $48 for sideline seats and $64 for box seats.
More than 20,000 season tickets were sold on the first day they were offered, breaking NFL records at the time. “The people of New Orleans have been waiting for professional football for five years,” team owner John Mecom Jr. said in the March 9, 1967 States-Item. “Today they had a chance to express themselves and, by golly, it looks like they’ve expressed themselves well.” The team sold 33,400 season tickets by the start of the season.
The Saints faced the Los Angeles Rams in the first home game at Tulane Stadium on Sept. 17, 1967. “It was more than just a football game,” Jim Manning wrote in The States-Item. “It was rather a historic event in New Orleans, the first regular season game of the city’s fledgling professional football team.”
On Super Bowl Sunday 2019, my family went down to the French Quarter. We set up on Decatur Street and joined a party. The crowd of New Orleani…
Official attendance was 80,879, according to the next day’s Times-Picayune, which called it a record opening game attendance for an NFL expansion team. According to sports broadcaster Wayne Mack’s book “The Saga of the Saints,” game time entertainment included the Xavier University Choir, the Olympia Brass Band and trumpeter Al Hirt, who also was an investor in the team.
"No Hollywood script writer could have penned a more exciting debut for an NFL team,” Mack wrote. “On the opening kickoff, rookie John Gilliam electrified the stadium with his 94-yard return for a touchdown.” In the end, the Saints lost to the Rams, 27-13.
Over the next few weeks we’ll explore the history of some (to borrow the title of Stanley Clisby Arthur’s 1937 book) “Famous New Orleans Drinks and How to Mix ‘Em.”
We wrap up our look at some classic New Orleans cocktails with two that originated at French Quarter landmarks: the hurricane and the grasshopper.