Falcons stadium subsidy nearing $600m thanks to state-funded parking garage

Did I forget to mention, back when it was first reported last March, that on top of giving the Atlanta Falcons $554 million toward construction costs for their new stadium, the state of Georgia is spending an additional $17 million on expanding a parking garage for the team? That’s okay, because now it’s $40 million, according to the 2015 state budget.

All it’ll take is another $6 million, then, for the public cost to reach exactly triple the $200 million that it was originally announced as. You really gotta watch the fine print on these things.


7 comments on “Falcons stadium subsidy nearing $600m thanks to state-funded parking garage

  1. That’s deceptive. $300 million of that is for ordinary maintenance and upgrades, which are absolutely necessary if Atlanta is going to keep the SEC Championship Game and probably necessary if Atlanta is going to keep the Peach Bowl in the CFB Playoff rotation. It’s not like that’s a Falcons subsidy.

  2. Ordinary maintenance and upgrades to a stadium that doesn’t exist yet? And for which the Falcons will retain all revenues, including college bowl games? You’re going to need to explain to me what part of that isn’t a subsidy, Ben.

    • Neil, it is interesting what the fine print says. 600million is a lot more than the public was sold on.
      As far as return on investment, that’s a great debate. It is hard to calculate the exact revenues that states and cities make from games like the Super Bowl (as our government can’t tell us ) Some economists argue it brings in enough revenues to more than cover costs, but others argue that’s not true. I’ve never seen the numbers. Hopefully the new stadium attracts more events to Atlanta and in turn tax revenue.

  3. The SEC has made repeated statements that they’re happy with the Georgia Dome. The new stadium has significantly less seats than the Georgia Dome, which means a cut in revenues for the SEC. This is also a problem for member schools because most of their stadiums are larger than the new stadium. Some of their scholarship donors will now be unable to get seats for the game as they would have in the Georgia Dome. The additional luxury boxes might be nice for a few corporate big shots but for schools who have donors being excluded from attending the championship game due to less seats, having a place for the CEO of an Atlanta company to party while ignoring the game on the other side of the luxury box glass does nothing for a school located in Arkansas or Texas. Anyone who understands how the college version of PSLs work, will understand that these big donations for the right to purchase season tickets are made on a year to year basis. When someone who has donated $5,000 each year to their school for decades is told there isn’t a seat for him in the smaller stadium, it hurts the school long term.

    What the SEC has done is remove the new stadium from the rotation of sites for the SEC basketball tournament. It might return to the new stadium sometime after 2025 but as of now, Atlanta is out for at least a decade. This was announced after the new stadium was approved. This is a huge contrast to the Georgia Dome, which hosted the tournament six times over the past decade and five times the decade before that. It’s pretty hard not to conclude that the new stadium cost Atlanta the SEC basketball tournament.

    As far as the Peach Bowl is concerned, it has been a sell out for almost two decades and is the best attended bowl outside of the old BCS. The difference between a normal year and a year it hosts the National Championship Game is not going to be a huge gain, if any. And once again, like the SEC championship game, the schools are hurt by the new stadium because of the reduction in number of seats. Luxury boxes are king in the NFL, stadium capacity is where it’s at in college ball. It’s like paying twice as much for an airline ticket to get upgraded from economy to economy plus. It’s such a small gain in relation to the amount of public money being sunk into the new stadium that it’s not worth mentioning. And the jury is still out on how well the playoffs and championship game are going to do long term since it is a huge expense for the fans of teams to fly across the country multiple times during the holiday season.

    And for the SEC championship game and Peach Bowl, they now have to deal with an NFL landlord rather than the state owned GWCC (who now is only an owner in name as a way for the team to dodge property taxes). Both the SEC and ACC are composed mostly of state universities. They had a good relationship with the State of Georgia. Now that they must deal with the dictates of the NFL, don’t be surprised if pressure from the western schools finally get the game to rotate with a western location such as Dallas.

    The new stadium is a huge fail when it comes to college football. Which makes the situation even that much worse since Atlanta is a college football town while the Falcons have a difficult time filling the stands with actual people even when they’re winning (which they haven’t been doing lately).

    • Jason, the new stadium has 5k more seats than the old stadium. The SEC championship agreed to stay in Atlanta until at least 2027. The SEC basketball tournament will rotate back as it always does.
      The new stadium also landed the superbowl. The new stadium was also designed to hold more concert series which is something the Dome severely lacks due to terrible acoustics.
      The bowl game revenues aren’t what drive money it’s the game itself. The taxes paid by tourists to come to these games is big money for the city and state.
      @Neil, it is interesting what the fine print says. 600million is a lot more than the public was sold on. As far as return on investment, that’s a great debate. It is hard to calculate the exact revenues that states and cities make from games like the Super Bowl (as our government can’t tell us ) Some economists argue it brings in enough revenues, others argue that’s not true. I’ve never seen the numbers. Hopefully the new stadium attracts more events to Atlanta and in turn tax revenue.

      • Actually, no economists argue it brings in enough revenues, unless Roger Goodell got an economics degree when I wasn’t looking.

        Plenty of numbers here if you want them:

        http://www.sportsonearth.com/article/66544296/

  4. “And for the SEC championship game and Peach Bowl, they now have to deal with an NFL landlord rather than the state owned GWCC (who now is only an owner in name as a way for the team to dodge property taxes…”

    Enjoyed your comment Jason as I hadn’t even considered the impact on the college game.

    Regarding the above quote… Correct me if I’m wrong but under the current lease the GWCC gets the money (or most, if not all) from luxury suites at the Georgia Dome. And wasn’t that the major impetus for Blank wanting to replace a building that wasn’t even old? Not contradicting you, just don’t want the GWCC’s role in this whole affair diminished.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *.
NOTE: Personal attacks on other commenters are not allowed in comments, and will be deleted.

HTML tags are not allowed.

758,310 Spambots Blocked by Simple Comments