notes from cocktail napkins...The new Falcons Stadium is happening, get over it.
We all know there's nothing wrong with The Georgia Dome. But there's nothing special about it either. And if you want to keep up with The Jonses as in Jerry Jones and his colossus Cowboys Stadium, Atlanta needs to step up. You wanna keep The SEC Championship Game, you want a shot at the new College Football playoffs and it's National Championship Game? Then you need a new building.
The Georgia Dome's timing was terrible. The Smith Family was using Jacksonville as leverage back in the 80's for a new stadium. The Olympics were coming too. The best option the city and state could cobble together was to shoe horn a stadium next to The World Congress Center. Lousy neighborhood, lousy tailgating plus you are indoors in Atlanta where the weather is nice enough to play golf in shorts in October.
Retractable roof technology was in it's infancy, other than Skydome in Toronto and that cost a fortune. So we got stuck with an indoor only stadium. It's kind of like what happened to The Chicago White Sox, when they unveiled the "new" Comiskey Park. A nice big stadium with nothing radical about it's design. Just an up to date version of the cookie cutter stadiums that blighted the sports landscape in the 70's. Then came Camden Yards which changed everything. The new generation of throw back stadiums with all their nooks and crannies and bars and barbecue pits and hot tubs.
So less than 20 years into the Georgia Dome it's like were driving a nice late model car. Sure it still looks good and it's functional but it has none of the bells and whistles the new models have.
Billionaire owners like having the new stuff. In a perfect world Arthur Blank foots the bills for the whole thing. But if the stadium is to remain downtown this is how the deal gets done. It's not as rosy as Bob Kraft paying for almost everything in the middle of nowhere Foxboro. Conversely Arthur Blank isn't going to hose the taxpayer they way the Marlins just stuck it to Miami-Dade Couty. Yes I know the roads and sewers are crumbling, cops and fireman and teachers are under paid in Atlanta. But the hotel tax is earmarked for projects like this...period. Still cant believe how many folks don't understand how the hotel tax works...for the hundredth time, If you stay in a downtown hotel you're helping to pay for the new Falcons stadium. No money from school lunches in Fulton County are going to corporate welfare.
But what a lot of folks don't seem to realize is that the Falcons will not own the new stadium. Sure they get a sweet heart deal on the lease but it's run by The World Congress Center.
I am as scared about personal seat licenses as you guys. That's never a good deal for the passionate working class fan who gets priced out of the good seats. But unfortunately that is part of the sports world we live in. Still don't have the numbers on what percentage of the new stadium would be PSLs.
Good news is if they go with the planned location just South of the Georgia Dome MARTA won't have to be re-routed and infrastructure costs wouldn't skyrocket which is guaranteed (I grant you) to happen if they build the stadium up Northside Drive by Ivan Allen Blvd.
My one beef with The Georgia Dome is what a hassle it is to get into. And how crowded the field level concourse is before and after a game. It's like human pinball. If any of you guys have been to Raymond James Stadium in Tampa you get an idea how a well designed spacious concourse makes it a breeze to get a brew or a hot dog and find your seat.
The Georgia Dome was a mixed bag at best, solid but not spectacular. Bad tailgating, playing indoors in a warm climate...One thing for certain with Arthur Blank's involvement with the new stadium, this time they'll get it right.
When we rake in a minimum of $350 million from The Super Bowl and you are walking around the field level concourse with out spilling your beer I think you'll say this is pretty frigging cool.