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Volume 24 No. 159


The Falcons yesterday revealed that the "projected cost of their new downtown stadium has risen" to $1.2B, a jump of $200M from the figure the team "long used as a ballpark estimate," according to Tim Tucker of the ATLANTA JOURNAL-CONSTITUTION. But the increase "does not change the amount of taxpayer money going into the project." Falcons President & CEO Rich McKay attributed the revised budget to "a variety of factors, including the plan for an 'iconic' eight-sided design, complex retractable roof and 62,000-square-foot video screen within the roof opening." He added that the costs of "property acquisition, related road work and weather-proofing an indoor-outdoor facility" also were "driving the price higher." McKay: "We never wavered from the design. As opposed to backing off from it to get to a budget that was in a document somewhere, we continued to enhance it, so that drives a lot of that (added) cost." He added, "The roof is not the most simplistic and therefore is not inexpensive. But it was an element we wanted because it really sold the idea to us that the roof is a design element … whereas in many other buildings it is completely nondescript." Tucker notes bonds "backed by Atlanta's hotel-motel tax" will cover $200M of the cost of building the stadium. The rest will "come from the Falcons, the NFL and personal seat license sales." The NFL agreed in May to provide $200M, but the Falcons "haven't said how much" of the remaining $800M they hope to raise from PSLs. The revised projected cost is "in the ballpark with the current generation of NFL stadiums" (ATLANTA JOURNAL-CONSTITUTION, 10/29).

TURF WAR: Tucker reports the Falcons "decided that their new stadium will have artificial turf, rather than natural grass." 360 Architecture Senior Principal Bill Johnson said that the Falcons "originally hoped for a grass field in the planned retractable-roof stadium but decided against it after a detailed 'sun study analysis.'" McKay said that plans to use the stadium for other events "complicated the idea of natural grass." He added, "We did everything we could to solve for a grass field." McKay said that if the city is awarded an MLS expansion team, it "would play on artificial turf." But he added that a temporary grass field "could be installed for events such as international soccer games that require it" (ATLANTA JOURNAL-CONSTITUTION, 10/29).

In N.Y., Pat Leonard writes the NHL Rangers last night played their first home game at the newly renovated MSG, and it "fizzled into one big short-circuit." The venue's "enormous new big screen ... didn't show stats the entire first period, apparently due to an NHL issue." Fans at the game were "lifeless," perhaps "distracted by the flashy new big screen" (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 10/29).

YANKEE DOODLE DANDY? In N.Y., John Crudele reports Steiner Sports Founder & CEO Brandon Steiner "has been trying for four years to sell the old Yankee Stadium piece by piece," but "hasn't turned a profit yet on his venture." However, Steiner "swears he will" turn a profit. He is "pretty sure his 50-50 deal with the Yankees will turn out worthwhile." Steiner: "At the end of the day we can make a few million dollars. Right now, I'm real, real close to even" (N.Y. POST, 10/29).

ROCKY MOUNTAIN WAY: In Denver, Adrian Dater wrote after a couple of years in which he "kind of dreaded" covering Avalanche games at Pepsi Center, it is now "a really fun place to be." The venue used to offer "amateur-hour in-game entertainment" with the same "tired features at exactly the same times in every game." But now the game staff and entertainment is "soooo much better." The pregame intro is "edgy and real good," and the "stuff on the screen throughout the game -- promos, player talks, stats, highlights -- is tremendous" (, 10/27).

HOME SWEET HOME: Delaware North Cos. said that it will "negotiate a 20-year lease" for its proposed new HQ in Buffalo, but "only if the project gets tax breaks, special bridge financing and possibly a grant from the county and state to help close" a $10M gap. Delaware North and Uniland Development Co. said that the incentives from the Erie County Industrial Development Agency and the state of New York are “necessary to make it financially feasible to construct a 12-story mixed-use tower and five-level parking ramp" (BUFFALO NEWS, 10/29).