Saints, Pelicans owner Tom Benson dies


NEW ORLEANS

Tom Benson, a successful auto dealer who brought the New Orleans Saints their only winning seasons and the “Benson Boogie,” has died. Benson, who has also owned the NBA’s New Orleans Pelicans since 2012, was 90.

The NFL and NBA teams announced Benson’s death on Thursday.

Benson made his mark in pro sports with the Saints, which he bought in 1985 when it appeared the club would be sold to out-of-state interests and perhaps moved out of Louisiana. He paid $70 million for the team, which is now worth more than $1 billion.

Benson’s business acumen helped turn the Saints from a perennial also-ran into a contender — and the 2009 NFL champion. Yet his ownership also was less flatteringly marked by the 2012 bounty scandal and by rumors Benson did not want to bring the team back to New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina devastated the city in 2005.

Staff/wire report

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