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Will the HOF Expansion make Canton an NFL City--with 32 Home Teams?

Press Box and South Stands
Tim Rudell
Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium

UPDATE: The Cowboys edged the Cardinals 20-18 in the first NFL preseason game at the stadium.

Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium, the new $137 million home of the annual Pro Football Hall of Fame game, is dedicated and is ready to go. 

Tom Benson at Dedication
Credit Tim Rudell / WKSU
New Orleans Saints Owner Tom Benson (seated center) at the unveiling of his statue overlooking Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium

Crews working around the clock finished the stadium in time for its dedication this morning in the name of Tom Benson, the 90-year-old owner of the New Orleans Saints who helped fund it.  And tonight, the for the Cowboys-Cardinals game kicks off the NFL pre-season at the stadium.  

Stu Lichter, lead developer for the Johnson Controls Hall of Fame Village project, was on hand for the dedication. He says the stadium is remarkable for its innovation and quality and gives Canton a new status. 

“Canton is an NFL City.  In effect, in my mind, I view it as a 33rd NFL City. All the fans that don’t have an NFL team, aren’t near a city, even those who do.”

Lichter and Bernabie
Credit Tim Rudell / WKSU
Stu Lichter, Developer and Tom Bernabei, Canton Mayor

Canton’s Mayor, Tom Bernabei was at the dedication, too.  He has been an active monitor of the project since it began; and he says he is impressed by the stadium and by how well things are going overall.

Canton Mayor Tom Bernabei

“My job as mayor of the city of Canton is to watch the contractual and other working relationships we have with the Hall of Fame -- just the necessity of good government and good business. But we have wonderful partners here and I am very, very proud of everything that has been accomplished.”

Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium was designed by HKS Architects,  the firm that designed the Dallas Cowboys and Minnesota Vikings stadiums. The stadium includes a hi-definition  screen and a permanent stage to so it can host concerts and other events.