Remember the Atlanta Thrashers? They began playing in 1999 and struggled. They only made the NHL playoffs once and had a revolving door of head coaches and players. In 2011, the team was sold to True North Sports & Entertainment and the team was moved to Winnipeg and renamed the Winnipeg Jets. One of Atlanta’s pro sports teams had left the city for good. Now there are stories talking about the possible move of the Atlanta Falcons to Los Angeles. Could Atlanta be losing another pro sports team?
Los Angeles is one of the top media markets in the country and has sought a football team for years. It had two NFL teams in the past but they did not stay in the city for long. Officials in Los Angeles have approached Falcons owner Arthur Blank and they are interested in the possibility of moving the Falcons to the Southern California city. When Atlanta mayor Kasim Reed heard about this he got worried quick. He does not want to become the mayor who lost the Falcons. Georgia governor Nathan Deal also said it would be a big loss for the state if the Atlanta Falcons were to move to Los Angeles.
So why would this talk be going on in the first place? It’s all about a new stadium. Right now there are negotiations between the state and the Falcons on the financial deal to build a new $1 billion stadium to replace the Georgia Dome. And many people are asking about where the money will come from to build this new stadium. Some people are also asking why the Georgia Dome, which is around 20 years old, is already outdated.
The NFL has said it will not host another Super Bowl in Atlanta until a new stadium is built. and that is the reason Arthur Blank is keen on building a new stadium. Blank plans on paying for it with $700 million of his own money. The other $300 million would come from a hotel-motel tax that was extended in 2010 with the purpose of sending $200 million to the Georgia World Congress Center Authority. The Georgia Legislature would also need to approve a $100 million raise in the hotel-motel tax portion to help fund the new stadium.
I can see why a new stadium is needed in the Atlanta Metro. Atlanta has a huge sports past with the 1996 Olympic Games as its biggest moment. And having a new stadium would bring in big events like the Super Bowl, FIFA World Cup, and other major sporting events. Could the Olympic Games come back to Atlanta with a new stadium? Most people in a Atlanta Journal-Constitution poll say they do not support the city or state using public money towards a new venue, mainly because the Georgia Dome is not that old. And I agree with them!
The Georgia Dome is still a great venue for the Atlanta Metro. I guess when a new stadium is built (if it happens) the dome will be abandoned and torn down. That’s a sad way for the dome to go. I don’t know if people realize this, but we are in a BAD economy. People are losing jobs, people are suffering, and a private NFL team is complaining about not getting enough funding from state or city tax dollars? This is very insensitive and selfish timing in my opinion. The Georgia Dome is allegedly facing $350 million in repairs and maintenance. Where is that money going to come from as well?
I see this as a scare tactic to get the public sector to foot the enormous bill for 8 games a year. If Arthur Blank has the money to build a new stadium, than I have no problem seeing a new stadium in the Atlanta skyline. But if taxpayer money has to be used, then the stadium should never be built. The state and city have better needs for the taxpayer money. If this means the Falcons moves to Los Angeles, then so be it. The south is not well-known for pro sports. More people follows high school and college sports in the south. And that’s a fact, Jack!
- Owner Arthur Blank Says Los Angeles Has Interest in Falcons Franchise (bleacherreport.com)
- Atlanta Falcons aren’t close to moving to L.A. (bloggingdirty.com)
- Atlanta Falcons: Should They Answer Los Angeles’ Call? (bleacherreport.com)
- Report: City of Los Angeles interested in Falcons (profootball.scout.com)
- Los Angeles Falcons? Gov. Deal says team’s move would be big loss (bizjournals.com)