Saturday, November 13, 2010

"Replace the Georgia Dome" Talk Troublesome

This past Thursday, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell dropped a non-threat threat on the City of Atlanta: build a new stadium or you're not getting another Super Bowl.

If you thought Tropicana Field was obsolete quickly, how do you think Falcons fans feel about their 18-year-old dome being called inadequate? Taxpayers in Georgia will be paying for the stadium through 2020, but Goodell and the Falcons have made it clear they'd prefer to have a new open-air stadium before that:
"The bar has been raised because you're getting great facilities around the country in great communities," Goodell said during a reception before (Thursday's) game, held on a rooftop overlooking Centennial Olympic Park. "(Super Bowl) games are a tremendous value to the communities, so there's a lot of competition for it. So I think a new stadium with this great community would be beneficial to bringing another Super Bowl to this community."

The Falcons have been pushing for a new facility to replace their longtime home, contending the Georgia Dome no longer produces sufficient revenues to keep up with newer stadiums around the league. The state, which owns the downtown stadium along with a massive convention center next door, has proposed a major renovation and even discussed the idea of installing a retractable roof to meet the team's desire to have an open-air facility.
It seems from the arguments put forth that the Falcons aren't worried about losing money on their billion-dollar franchise, but simply think they deserve to make more because other teams in the league are making more.

The price for the team to make a few more million in annual revenues and the NFL to make a few more million on a Super Bowl game? Approximately $750 million, a large portion of which would presumably come from public funds. We can only assume tickets in a new stadium would cost fans more, too. (Might just be wiser for the City of Atlanta to deal the Falcons a bigger cut of Georgia Dome proceeds!)

Furthermore, one can only wonder if Goodell will imply Tampa needs a new stadium down the road if it wants to host another Super Bowl. Raymond James Stadium, after all, has 7,000 fewer seats than the Georgia Dome. It opened in 1998, six years after the Georgia Dome, and it will be paid off on Jan. 1, 2027, also six years after the Georgia Dome.

Want other Atlanta/Tampa Bay similarities? Just substitute the word "Rays" in for "Falcons" in this Atlanta Journal-Constitution story.

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