Georgia Dome torn down at age 25, because that’s how we 21st-century Americans roll

The Georgia Dome got blowed up real good this morning, and let’s take a moment to watch that now:

If you’re thinking, “Man, future generations are going to wonder why we expended an enormous carbon footprint to build giant buildings just to knock them down again,” you’ll be pleased to know that the Georgia Dome’s entire existence on Earth was just slightly over 25 years, meaning it didn’t even live as long as all those rock stars who died young.

Which brings up the question: Where does the Georgia Dome fall on the all-time list of sports venues that were demolished while their paint was still dry? My first thought was the Miami Arena, since the Heat moved out after just 11 years, but it hung around hosting arena football and minor-league hockey until 2008, when it was put down at age 20. Another building from the late ’80s NBA expansion class managed to beat it out for planned obsolescence: The Charlotte Coliseum opened in August 1988 and was torn down in June 2007 (here’s its snuff video), which makes it the only sports venue I can think of that didn’t even make it out of its teens.

The commonality among all these buildings is … not much. They were all erected in the late ’80s and early ’90s, and the basketball teams griped that their arenas didn’t have enough in the way of luxury suites — but Georgia Dome had plenty of premium seating. If anything, the common thread is that team owners thought they could get away with demanding new buildings, and did. As sports economist Rod Fort told me shortly after Miami abandoned its old arena at age 11, “I don’t see anything wrong, from an owner’s perspective, with the idea of a new stadium every year.” He may yet live to see it happen.

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14 comments on “Georgia Dome torn down at age 25, because that’s how we 21st-century Americans roll

  1. In other news the Georgia Dome decided not to leave Atlanta after its implosion to make the city really think about what it had done.

  2. Is it possible that what’s going on in Sacramento — NOT blowing up the old arena — is even worse? Sacramento’s current performing arts theater, the Sacramento Community Center Theater, is not ADA compliant, so it will close down for a renovation in 2019. There is talk of using Power Balance Pavilion as the new performing arts theater. Can you imagine SBH selling PBP to the City for use as a performing arts center? Imagine, if you will, when Hamilton finally tours the smaller cities; that they’d have it in an old, reconfigured arena.

    It could happen.

    Or that if SBH “gives” the City the old arena so they can remodel it into a performing arts center, and with that gift, renegotiate the current loan terms for Golden 1. I haven’t seen anyone actually make an official proposal for this, but I can see it happening. I have heard — but not read — unofficial speculation that this could happen.

    What was that you said about “The smartest guys in the room”?

  3. I think most, if not all, of the revenue from the suites in the Georgia Dome went to the GWCC, including for Falcons games. So Blank wasn’t getting that money. I used to have an report prepared by the GWCC that had the revenue totals. Can’t seem to find it.

    Anyway, I’m not sure why they couldn’t just renegotiate the suite revenues. I guess Blank decided to ask for a new stadium instead and Atlanta said, “Sure.”

    Can’t remember who I was talking to (was an economist) and he made the point that the increased revenues from the newer stadiums actually put pressure on owners like Blank. I believe the latest CBA uses the term ‘All Revenue’, which includes ticket sales, luxury suites and premium seating, broadcast money, concessions, local advertising, and merchandising. So when Jerry’s Death Star starts making him all kinds of money because of its insanely expensive suites and club seating, it also increases the total for AR. The NFL has a cap and a floor. Both go up when AR goes up. So someone like Blank, who, prior to moving in to his new digs, wasn’t getting suite revenue from the Georgia Dome, he’s got a floor that’s going up but he’s getting squeezed because he doesn’t have access to all the revenue streams other owners have.

    So congrats hotel-tax paying visitors to Atlanta. You helped solved poor Arthur Blanks revenue ‘problems.’

    1. And isn’t that what all taxpayers are for, to help billionaires become even more wealthy regardless of cost?

      Only a billionaire sports owner could possibly see himself as a victim (as you described).

      Is ‘only’ making $30m a year on one business when all the other guys are making $50m really being squeezed?

  4. Great web site, thanks. Never stepped foot in new Yankee stadium after they stole parkland to build it.

    1. I’ve been there a couple of times — you’re not missing anything.

  5. International news feeds referred to it as the demolition of the “iconic” Georgia Dome.

    I thought icons had to at least be old enough to drink in all states?

  6. Wow. Those suites and lounges would have made great temporary residences for all the people that have been given the bum’s rush to make way for new stadiums in/around Atlanta…

    I guess nobody in Atlanta’s social services division thought of that…

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