Falcons stadium to cost an extra $200m, nobody bats an eyelash because stadiums

This morning on my weekly KUCI radio spot, host Heather McCoy asked me why it is that stadiums keep getting more and more ridiculously expensive to build. I replied that it has less to do with the price of raw materials or anything than the increasingly grandiose designs — like, just look at the new Atlanta Falcons stadium, which will cost $1 billion thanks to giant video screens and seats that vibrate when players make tackles and a roof that will close like an iris camera shutter.

And right on cue comes word that the cost of this monstrosity work of destination architecture will actually be $1.2 billion, because octagonal sliding iris roofs don’t come cheap. But not to worry, the Atlanta Journal Constitution reassures us, the public won’t be on the hook for the extra $200 million: “As specified in the deal struck early this year, bonds backed by Atlanta’s hotel-motel tax will cover $200 million of the cost of building the stadium. The rest will come from the Falcons, the NFL and personal seat license sales.”

Of course, the Falcons will also have about another $300 million in future tax kickbacks with which to defray their costs. But that’s not something that daily newspapers like to mention in polite company.

Still, this is undeniably $200 million more than Falcons owner Arthur Blank was expecting to spend, which makes you wonder: When told that he needs to write an extra $200 million in checks, does a guy like Blank really go, “Sure, what the heck, it’s only money”? Or does he figure that he’ll make it back on fans who’ll shell out more for tickets if only they can sit in vibrating seats? As usual, I’m not sure whether to assume that sports team owners have a secret plan for making money or are just as short-sighted as the rest of us. Not that it would matter, if they weren’t spending our money on their wacky dreams.

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4 comments on “Falcons stadium to cost an extra $200m, nobody bats an eyelash because stadiums

  1. They still don’t have all the land for the project. In addition to the churches they bought there are several more parcels they need. One of them has been in the owner’s family since 1902. The GWCC (which really means Arthur Blank) is trying to use eminent domain to lowball. The owner claims it’s worth $25,000,000 based on nearby land values and plans for a hotel tower that predates the stadium announcement but will accept $12,000,000. The GWCC doesn’t want Blank to have to pay that much and is offered a bit over a million. So to court we go! Hope Blank gets charged the full twenty-five million now that they’ve chosen to force the sale through the court system.

    Speaking of project changes, it’s been decided that this “open air stadium” won’t actually be open air enough to have natural grass. The AJC is reporting that the building isn’t open enough for the grass to get enough light to grow so plastic grass it is! Once it’s built, you have to wonder how many times they’ll play make believe and “open” the stadium before doing away with the pretense.

  2. He’ll make it back jacking up his fanbase.

    Speaking of which, I need some help selling psl’s. It seems *my* fanbase doesn’t like the idea of shelling out huge bucks to help build me a palace to house this godawful football product I’m serving up.

    I thought my rhetoric about wanting to win was enough but it turns out the rubes who enrich me in so many ways expect good football on the field. Sheesh. Can’t they just hand me their money and keep quiet?!

    After 9 years of the crap product I provide, you’d think they’d have gotten over the notion that I’m going to bring them a championship. If I had a clue how to build a winner it would have shown up by now. I’m in this for the champagne, caviar, and cashola, not “winning”.

  3. Make it back on the fans? Or shrug it’s only money? All rich people think alike, guys….and seeing as making it back is the more evil option, that sort of answers itself

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