Big news yesterday out of Atlanta, where the Georgia World Congress Center Authority approved a non-binding framework for future negotiations with the Falcons over a $1 billion stadium … hey, wait, this isn’t big news. We’ve known for months that the authority wants to help the Falcons out with $300 million in hotel-motel tax money, so there’s nothing new there. If anything, the big news appears to be that the GWCCA has decided to go with this non-binding “term sheet” thing in order to get in under the gun of having a deal in place by the end of the year, as they’d promised.
As for what’s in the term sheet, you can read it yourself here. There’s isn’t a ton of detail, but here are a few tidbits:
- The Falcons would pay the GWCCA $2.5 million a year in rent, escalating at 2% a year. That’s not nothing, but it doesn’t amount to a ton — figure it’d be enough to pay off about $50-60 million of the state’s costs.
- As reported previously, the Falcons will pay all operating costs, but will also get all revenues from the building, which is not currently the case at the Georgia Dome and which could amount to a further team windfall, though no hard figures are available
- The Falcons will have the right to sell personal seat licenses, though (probably for tax reasons) the GWCCA would actually technically be hiring the Falcons to sell PSLs, then turning over all the proceeds from the license sales to help pay for the stadium.
- There’s still no agreement on where to build the new stadium, though it would be somewhere near the Georgia Dome, which would be demolished. (With demolition costs paid for as part of the overall project.)
Meanwhile, there’s still that little problem of the GWCCA needing its debt limit raised if it wants to sell stadium bonds, something that would take a vote of the state legislature. The Atlanta Journal Constitution says that the response yesterday from legislators was “cool but not icy,” with elected officials saying things like “It’s a tough economic climate and for the state to undertake any sort of investment, I think we have to move cautiously” (house speaker David Ralston) and “I’m currently agnostic about it” (house minority leader Stacey Abrams). At least there’s some paperwork to begin haggling over, though, which is the whole point of yesterday’s announcement. Looks like it’s going to be a busy spring for lobbyists in Atlanta…