The Atlanta Falcons moved a step closer toward a possible new home field Tuesday, after the Georgia World Congress Center Authority signaled it is ready to move into detailed talks on the matter.
The Authority agreed to enter into a “memorandum of understanding” with the Falcons on plans for a potential $700 million open-air stadium downtown.
Both parties emphasized the memorandum does not constitute a done deal, but rather allows them to begin negotiations over details of the project, including financing.
But the Falcons have made it clear that they want a new open-air stadium, rejecting alternatives such as expanding the Georgia Dome, adding a retractable roof to the facility or building a new dome with a retractable roof.
I suppose that we are supposed to feel good that the new stadium is going to be paid for by a hotel tax, so the expense of Blank's new palace will fall on out-of-towners, but why can't we keep the tax and spend it on something useful like, say, roads or college tuition? And has anyone gone to the Dome and said "gee, this facility is inadequate and outdated?" There is nothing wrong with the existing facility and the Falcons are perfectly capable of competing in the NFL with their existing revenue streams. This isn't about keeping the Falcons, improving the fan experience, or maintaining the team's ability to compete. It's simply about maximizing profit for a private entity.
Speaking of revenue streams, it's interesting to me that the socialist structure of the NFL ends up undercutting the rationale of its teams to demand public money. Because Major League Baseball payrolls are uncapped, a baseball team can argue that it needs a sweetheart stadium deal in order to spend on better players. In that instance, the local electorate can weigh the expense against the positive psychological impact of having a winning team. In the NFL, teams are going to have roughly the same player payroll regardless of how much they are making on their stadium. There's no reason for a city to enrich the local NFL team in order to produce wins. Instead, the NFL is ruthless enough to leave the second biggest market in the country without a team as a way to extort other cities, so they provide the stick rather than the carrot.