A day after slamming New Orleans as unworthy of hosting major sporting events, ESPN's Colin Cowherd today called the reaction to his comments an "enormously fake controversy."
Cowherd again expressed his displeasure with the fact that New Orleans has become a favorite destination for major sporting events such as the Super Bowl and the Final Four. The host also takes issue with the Crescent City likely hosting this year's Pro Bowl a week before the Super Bowl.
"They have become the default place for everything, and the Pro Bowl is a family event..Players take their families," Cowherd said. "Players aren't going to go to New Orleans. New Orleans is not a family destination, it's a party destination."
Cowherd again said that the crime rate in New Orleans makes the city unsuitable to host major sporting events.
Yesterday, Cowherd bemoaned what he said were areas in which New Orleans was lacking.
"I want a lot of hotel rooms, a great airport, good weather, safety,” Cowherd said. "New Orleans is not top-15 in any of those."
Officials with the New Orleans tourism industry point out that at least some of Cowherd's "facts" are on shaky ground.
"Everything he listed as an issue with New Orleans, we can come right back and say: Wrong, wrong, wrong," said Mark Romig, CEO of the New Orleans Tourism Marketing Corporation,
"We are the most sought-after location for nation championships. We've heard over and over from teams, their players, their fans, their alumni, they love New Orleans, because New Orleans loves them right back."
Romig says Cowherd's stat about hotel space is particularly off the mark.
"We're the most walkable city of any major national venue in the country, with 20,000 hotel rooms within walking distance of the Superdome."
According to Romig, the New Orleans tourism scene year-round has more than bounced back to pre-Katrina levels.
"Cowherd should talk to the 8.75 million people who came to New Orleans last year, up from 8.3 million from the year before. New Orleans is the most unique destination in the country. And we admit it...we know it, we've got issues, we're dealing with those, but we're not just sitting back and letting it happen. But like every other major urban city in the country, you deal with it, you make it better, and you work together to get it done."