Jacksonville will play host to Saints-Packers game on Sept. 12

Hurricane Ida forces New Orleans season opener to move to TIAA Bank Field

New Orleans Saints quarterback Jameis Winston (2) drops back to pass in the first half of an NFL preseason football game against the Jacksonville Jaguars in New Orleans, Monday, Aug. 23, 2021. (AP Photo/Brett Duke) (Brett Duke, Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The New Orleans Saints are marching into Jacksonville for their season opener after being displaced by Hurricane Ida, and the River City is ready.

Instead of playing in the Superdome for the Sept. 12 opener against the Green Bay Packers, the Saints will host the game at the home of the Jaguars, the NFL announced Wednesday. The game will remain in its 4:25 p.m. time slot.

The Jaguars are on the road in Week 1 at Houston.

Tickets will go on sale for both Saints and Jaguars season ticketholders on Thursday. New Orleans season ticketholders will be able to purchase tickets beginning at 11 a.m., while Jacksonville season ticketholders can begin purchasing them at 3 p.m.

Tickets for the general public will be made available on Friday at 11 a.m.

Hurricane Ida’s arrival came 16 years to the day after Hurricane Katrina ravaged through New Orleans in 2005 which forced the Saints to more their entire season that year.

While the Superdome appears to have been spared significant damage from the powerful Category 4 hurricane, there are logistical challenges with staffing an NFL game there because of the widespread damage in the New Orleans area, notably the widespread loss of power from the storm.

Jacksonville is happy to help, said Mayor Lenny Curry, saying “this is one of many ways we are offering support & assistance to Louisiana after this devastating storm.”

For Jacksonville, it’s an unexpected boost for the local market during a time when things are generally downshifting, said Katie Mitura, director of marketing with Visit Jacksonville.

“For us, September is a historically very slow month,” she said. “Most people have gone back to school and people are not traveling, and so to be able to bring big boost like an extra NFL game with two totally different teams than our home team, two teams that travel really well with strong fanbases throughout the country, it’ll give a strong boost that weekend here in Jacksonville.”

The chance to host a game like this is a twofold benefit for the city. It’s a chance to offer a break for New Orleans fans, should they travel, and a chance to see a high profile NFL clash that normally wouldn’t be

“We as a company, we’re always excited anytime we can host any kind of NFL event here, specifically for the thoughts and prayers of the New Orleans fans,” Morris said.

“We’re looking forward to hosting them. As you know, it’s our sister city, so anytime we can help out a population like that, we’re more than happy to do it and we’ll be ready to host all of that.”

Local fans will no doubt have an interest in attending that game for a double-dip of football on Sept. 12.

“I am proud of the collective communications that occurred between many entities in a short amount of time that led to us making this decision,” said Saints owner Gayle Benson. “It is never easy to make a decision that involves not playing a Saints home game in the Caesars Superdome, but I am confident that this is the right decision for our city at this juncture.”

About the Authors:

Justin Barney joined News4Jax in February 2019, but he’s been covering sports on the First Coast for more than 20 years.

Multi-media journalist with a special interest in Georgia issues.