Falcons New Stadium Drama Marches On …

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!

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2 thoughts on “Falcons New Stadium Drama Marches On …”

  1. I don’t see why they wouldn’t. Great for the team not to finance the stadium (SF Giants cite debt service as reason for not expanding payroll) but every other NFL team with a new stadium is using PSL because I don’t believe they have to share as much of those revenues.

    Never mind that one reason NFL is so successful is revenue sharing, especially the lucrative TV contract.

    Owners will claim competitive need even tho there is a hard cap — none of the luxury tax foolishness in the NBA and MLB.

    Plus with higher ticket prices and luxury boxes revenues, gate revenues should increase before PSLs.

    Gradually as new stadiums are put up, the demographics of the fans go up the scale. And some would say they’re not as passionate as the more traditional blue collar fans.

    One of the loudest stadiums in the league is in KC. Would the atmosphere be the same if they put up a new stadium and drew more well-heeled fans? Same question about Packers and Steelers.

    Out here a lot of the “49ers Faithful” fans have been priced out of the new stadium they’re building. Fans who’ve had tickets since the 50s (or some have had tickets for several generations in the same family) may drop them. They attended through a lot of lean years. Will the new holders continue if the team becomes bad again?

  2. I’m afraid you are right on PSLs, which is the reason I keep bringing it up. I live 90 mins south of ATL, but the one thing that is obvious about ATL is that it is a vary transient town. Think bandwagons, tons of fans for the visiting team, etc.

    The front office will not disclose numbers, but they haven’t sold all their season ticket seats. In a perfect world (for the front office) a new stadium will drive fan interest and all seats get sold. With high demand, they can push for PSLs.

    During the Vick days I bought a seat with a friend that had a block of seats, but I was on the waiting list until Vick went to jail. Magically the next off season my number was called. I think this is now the 5th or 6th year with my seats. There is nothing blue collar about mine; they are already pricey enough! Just look up section 231 (Gate C) – just to the side of where the Falcons run out of the tunnel in the Mezzanine section. Great seats. Expensive seats. Multiple by 5 and you will understand why PSLs scare me half to death!

    I’m in it for the Falcons and the family experience. If I have to cut back 1-3 seats because of increases in prices, PSLs, etc due to a new stadium, I would have to pass because I couldn’t take the whole family.

    We make a great day of it tailgating – grilling, drinking cold ones (me and my wife, not the boys), playing tailgating ring toss games, throwing a football, the whole tailgate experience. And of course winning games makes it all the better.

    Enjoying it while I can still afford it!

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