DeKalb County subsidies for Atlanta MLS practice field could be worth as much as whole practice field

The Atlanta United FC MLS team struck a deal last week to build a practice facility in DeKalb County (that’s the other county that part of Atlanta is in, along with Fulton), and yawn, soccer practice facility, right? Except that today the indefatigable Atlanta Journal Constitution has dug up how much money and tax breaks the county would be providing for the project, and yowza:

  • The county would provide $12 million to United owner Arthur Blank for new parks department offices and demolition and land preparation.
  • The county would provide 41 acres of government-owned land for free.
  • The whole thing would be property-tax free.
  • The county would “” a pedestrian walkway to the nearby MARTA transit station.

Okay, that’s still not a huge amount as these things go — I don’t know how much property taxes would be (and the AJC doesn’t say) or how much a pedestrian walkway costs, but counting the cash, total maybe $20-30 million tops? How much is the practice facility going to cost, anyway?


On the bright side, the county would get a whole 15% of any naming-rights fees for the complex (which will include a 3,500-seat grandstand, because everybody wants to watch MLS players practice, right?), plus the county can use it when United doesn’t have dibs, which given that the MLS season runs March through November is likely to be not very often. And to think that some county commissioners aren’t convinced this is a great thing! Freakin’ NIMBYs.

Share this post:

7 comments on “DeKalb County subsidies for Atlanta MLS practice field could be worth as much as whole practice field

  1. Arthur Blank really is shameless, isn’t he? At this point it seems like it isn’t really about him getting richer but about racking up a subsidy high score he can flaunt to his fellow team owners.

  2. Not to say that this justifies the subsidy, but I imagine the practice facility might be like the Sounders have with Starfire: A practice complex that also hosts unimportant matches (US Open Cup) and their USL developmental team. In USL this year, some of the MLS reserve squads are attracting 2-4k, which is impressive for lower level American soccer.

    Still, Arthur Blank can build his own bleachers.

  3. This S.Dekalb area has been overlooked by everyone. Companies have crammed into and overcrowded the top end without so much as a glance. Now that their choking on their own gas fumes they seem to be waking up to the need for transit. No MARTA Dekalb, Clayton and Fulton will NOT subsidize transit for the other areas. Now, as far as this deal with Mr. Blank and Dekalb County:
    1. Because no one would give S. Dekalb a chance -the land in all probability would have remained empty for who knows how long so it’s not like Dekalb was earning anything from it anyway so allowing AU to ‘use’ it is neither here nor there.
    2. I don’t recall Cobb getting anything back from this Braves deal. Dekalb will not only get the land back in 30 years but will also own everything that has been built on it AND 15 percent.
    3. Will the Cobb community get to use the Braves field?
    4. The benefit to the area will pay for itself 10 fold over the 30 years.
    5. One thing most people fail to realize is this. The undocumented and African residents of GA will make AU a success. This is their ‘football’, they don’t need i.d. just good old American green backs.

    This will be a great investment for this side of town. It is worth the risk for us.

  4. I didn’t know Arthur Blank has a son or daughter named Jackie.

    1. Want to improve S. DeKalb? Use the money to attaract business and improve education. How is giving it away to one of the richest men in the world going to help you?
    2. Naming rights for a practice facility are worth how much exactly? Not much. 15% of not much is virtually nothing, so DeKalb gets virtually nothing. And it will be tax exempt, so no income there, either. Why can’t they use that money to build a park in that spot ight now and locals can use it ASAP all year round?
    3. No. But this isn’t about the Braves or Cobb County. Next point…
    4. Virtually no revenue and $20-$30 million in spending is a net loss. How does that translate into “will pay for itself 10 fold over the 30 years?” This project will not encourage further development – it’s a soccer practice field. No one is going to open up a new business nearby.
    5. This has nothing to do with how successful AU can be. This is about how much less successful DeKalb will be because $20-$30 million that could have been invested into the county and its residents will instead be given away to a man already worth $2.5 billion.

  5. It doesn’t matter, because the USL team that ends up playing there will probably be called “Gwinett United”.

  6. It boggles my mind that cities are actually throwing millions at soccer teams. Does a more boring sport exist, anywhere? Fans fighting in the stands is the only thing soccer has going for it.

Comments are closed.