The deal is finally done. The National Automobile Dealers Association and the National Football League have announced they have agreed to move the date of theconvention from february 2-5 to January 26-29. The switch will allow the Super Bowl to be played in New Orleans on February 3, 2002.
The scheduling conflict arose, however, when the NFL postponed its games during the second week of the season because of the attacks on Washington D.C. and New York City on September 11. As a result, the Super Bowl would be pushed back a week during theConvention.
Because of the new scheduling conflict, the NFL was going to be forced to either cancel one week of the season, cancel the first round of its playoffs or move the Super Bowl to another locatjon. None of the options were attractive so Commissioner Paul Tagliabue contacted the NADA a couple of weeks ago to explore the possibility of switching the dates for the two events.
Originally, NADA’s response was less than favorable to the idea, saying a switch of the convention dates would be a logistical nightmare. Mr. Tagliabue, however, kept pushing and investigating as to how the two organizations could come to an agreement. Both groups met with New Orleans city officials last week to determine the feasibility, costs and logistics for switching the dates.
Having a better understanding of the costs and logistical headaches that would ensue if the NADA agreed to a switch, Mr. Tagliabue submitted an official proposal earlier this week offering to pay a rumored $7.5 million to NADA to facilitate a switch. According to the New Orleans Times-Picayune, the NFL also offered to make a significant contribution to NADA’s relief fund for the survivors of the September 11 attack.
NADA President Phil Brady says, "With this change, America's new car dealers are doing their part to help the country's healing process by maintaining importat traditions despite the horrific events of September 11. At the same time, we are maintaining our ability to present a first class convention in New Orleans one week earlier than originally planned."
Basically, NADA was looking for enough money to cover the costs it would incur from switching the convention dates. Regardless of the money, NADA’s convention staff will be scrambling, says Jeff Beddow, NADA spokesperson.