SBD/Issue 46/Facilities & Venues

New Falcons Stadium In Early Stages Despite Boost From Goodell

Falcons Prefer A New Open-Air Stadium, While
Others Have Suggested Renovating Georgia Dome

The prospects for a new football stadium in Atlanta “received a boost” Thursday when NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell indicated that “a new home for the Falcons could help the city land hosting privileges for a third Super Bowl,” according to Leon Stafford of the ATLANTA CONSTITUTION. But the Falcons and the Georgia World Congress Center Authority, which operates the team's current home, the Georgia Dome, said Friday that “negotiations are still ongoing and that 'everything remains on the table.'" The Falcons have said that “they prefer an open-air stadium while GWCCA leaders commissioned a study that looked at alternatives to a new field, including expanding the Dome and adding a retractable roof.” Discussions are “further complicated by the Dome's other clients, such as the Chick-fil-A Bowl and the SEC, which has held its annual football championship game in the Dome” since ’94. Each "prefers to play inside." A spokesperson for Georgia Gov.-elect Nathan Deal on Friday said that Deal “had no comment on the issue.” But during his campaign for office, Deal said that “he would support using hotel and motel tax revenue to build a new stadium for the Falcons.” Supporters of a new stadium contend that “it keeps the city competitive with other NFL cities that are currently building bigger and more modern stadiums.” They said that a new facility “won't cost taxpayers because it will be paid for visitors through the hotel/motel taxes,” and that it will “attract big events, foremost among them the Super Bowl.” In addition, the “open-air stadium could be used for soccer.” But critics argue that “new stadiums are all about owners gaining a bigger piece of revenue, not what's best for a city or taxpayers.” The GWCCA reported that the Georgia Dome in FY ’09 had revenue of $31M, with a total of $16.6M going to the Falcons and the Dome keeping $14.3M “for operations and to pay down debt” (ATLANTA CONSTITUTION, 11/13).

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