Just as the New England Patriots did to the city of Boston years ago before the move to Foxboro, Massachusetts, the Atlanta Falcons are doing to their host town, Atlanta, Georgia, now.
Atlanta Falcons President and CEO Rich McKay told the Atlanta City Council that if the deal the two sides negotiated for a new $948 million, retractable-roof stadium does not become a reality, the team would begin to look outside of Atlanta, but in the metro area.
The Falcons’ lease for the Gerogia Dome, which opened in 1992, expires after the 2017 NFL season. According to
The Falcons have a fine venue in the Georgia Dome, but they want a new one, and they’ll move out of downtown Atlanta to get it. (AP Photo)
John Manasso of FoxSportsSouth.com, the Falcons do not wish to extend the lease on the stadium.
“We just don’t believe it makes any sense,” McKay said. “We have tries to make it an opportunity for Atlanta. It’s not a demand-or-else project.”
The Falcons have not hosted a Super Bowl since 2000, when the city was hit by ice storms, most likely ruining it’s chances to host another game in the future. However, when William Pate, president of the Atlanta Convention and Visitors Bureau asked NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell how the city could host another Super Bowl, Goodell told Pate, “‘You need to get a new stadium.’”
McKay said if the Falcons get a new stadium, they would help the city’s big to host, not the Super Bowl, but the new NCAA Bowl Championship Series national championship and bring a Major League Soccer team to the city.
Owner Arthur Blank, who has invested lots of money into downtown Atlanta, prefers to stay put, but if the stadium can have the chance to host some of the biggest games in American Sports annually, maybe a state-of-the-art stadium would convince him to move away from downtown, and into the metro.
It looks like a wait-and-see scenario for Falcons fans; a wait-and-see that could last a couple of years. The stadium is only 20 years old and the cost of a new venue would come in at around $1 billion, and it seems like an unnecessary $1 billion. The venue is still very nice, and 20 years is close to nothing. It will be interesting to see if the Falcons stick to their guns and move to another part of the Atlanta metro in the coming years.
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