As the Falcons inch closer to finalizing a deal for a new stadium with the use of tax dollars, one expensive question hasn’t played out in the media. Will the Falcons move to a PSL system? I feel compelled to point out that this question must be put on the table before there is any vote to apply tax dollars to potentially stand up a replacement for the Georgia Dome.
After a lengthy process that included switching plans midstream, a deal to build a $948 million retractable-roof football stadium in downtown Atlanta could be reached by year’s end, the Georgia World Congress Center said.
I have been a big proponent of a downtown location, retractable-roof stadium. In Georgia this just makes sense; can’t imagine sitting in the sweltering sun for the stupid preseason games that are included in season ticket packages, September football is always hit or miss weather wise, and I really have no intentions to watch a Falcons game in the cold November rain.
The turn in talks toward a retractable-roof stadium means the Falcons’ original preference of an open-air facility, which would have been home to the NFL team while the Dome continued to house events that required an indoor facility, is off the table.
While an indoor/outdoor, retractable-roof facility would make the Dome unneeded, Poe acknowledged “it’s a valid concern” how the public will react to the idea of demolishing a stadium that opened just 20 years ago. [Source: AJC - Lost the exact link ...]
Honestly, the Dome is not that bad, but I think it would be extreme stupidity, not to mention fiscally irresponsible, to maintain two downtown stadiums. As far as the Dome goes, my seats, while expensive, are very close to the action. Not sure how this would play out with a new stadium, but I imagine my seats wouldn’t be as nice, and would cost a lot more, potentially ending my relationship with the Falcons as a season ticket holder. And there is still that pesky question of PSLs.
This AJC editorial hits the nail on the head:
Kicking in public dollars by the hundreds of millions is the cost of doing business with today’s sports mega-franchises. It’s akin to the economic development incentives governments routinely dangle in front of job creators to help seal deals.
To argue otherwise is pretty naive in this day and time. If Atlanta doesn’t do it, some other city in search of an NFL team will be waving a lucrative aid package. Just ask cities that have lost sports teams.
Once upon a time in my younger days, when my wife and I were freshly married, and she was doing the law school and getting started as a lawyer thing, we lived in the metro ATL area. Of course since we were starting out we couldn’t afford luxury items like season tickets. Not that I can now either, but I digress.
The point I wanted to make is that while the biggest economic benefit to a new stadium for the Falcons to call home is to the city of ATL, having the Falcons in Georgia has financial benefits across Georgia. As the editorial said, you have to pony up to play, and the only way to land a Super Bowl is to go all in with something big and fancy.
I just hope that the trick pony doesn’t come with PSLs attached!