3 Key Points:
- Shrine on Airline’s Major Revamp: Plans to convert this historic venue into a multi-sport and entertainment hub.
- Impact on USFL and New Orleans Breakers: The renovation could provide a new home for the Breakers, currently playing in Birmingham.
- Potential Influence on USFL-XFL Merger Talks: The stadium’s transformation might play a role in the ongoing merger discussions.
In a significant development for sports in Metairie, the Shrine on Airline, originally a baseball stadium, is set to undergo a major transformation. According to a recent article by NOLA.com, the Jefferson Parish Council has committed $15 million to the project, aimed at refurbishing the venue for a variety of sports, including high school football, soccer, rugby, and concerts.
Shrine on Airline: A Historic Venue
Built in 1997, the Shrine on Airline, located at 6000 Airline Drive, has been a landmark in Metairie. It initially served as the home field for the Triple-A New Orleans Zephyrs, later renamed the New Orleans Baby Cakes. The stadium, with a seating capacity of 10,000, saw the Baby Cakes leave for Wichita, Kansas, in 2019. Currently, Major League Rugby’s NOLA Gold is its primary tenant.
A New Home for the New Orleans Breakers?
The USFL’s New Orleans Breakers, without a permanent home, have been playing their games at Protective Stadium in Birmingham. The renovation of the Shrine could provide them a much-needed home base. With its strategic location and upgraded facilities, the stadium could become a focal point for the Breakers, especially amidst the buzz of a potential merger between the USFL and XFL.
The Renovation Plan and Its Impact
The planned renovation involves reorienting the stadium to accommodate a rectangular field, with new spectator stands. Kyle France, the board chair of the Louisiana Stadium and Exposition District, has mentioned ongoing discussions with the USFL about locating a team at the Shrine. This move could significantly impact the local economy and sports culture in Metairie.
USFL-XFL Merger and the Shrine’s Role
The talks of a USFL-XFL merger add another layer of interest to this development. A revamped Shrine on Airline could serve as a strategic asset in these discussions, potentially influencing decisions related to team locations and league operations.
Funding and Timeline
Funded partly by the federal American Rescue Plan Act and potential state contributions, the design phase, led by Odell Architecture and NANO, is expected to conclude by early 2024. This ambitious project, overseen by a five-member committee, signals a new era for sports and entertainment in Metairie, with the Shrine on Airline at its heart.
The transformation of Shrine on Airline stands as a beacon of progress, not just for Metairie but potentially for the USFL and its teams like the New Orleans Breakers.