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February 23, 2011
Falcons, stadium authority start talks
The Atlanta Falcons and the Georgia World Congress Center Authority say they've entered into a memorandum of understanding about building a new $700 million stadium just north of the authority-owned Georgia Dome. Unlike some MOUs, though, this one apparently just means they're officially beginning negotiations:
The next step, officials said, will be for Falcons and GWCCA leaders firm up plans for the facility, iron out revenue sharing, work out how much the state and the Falcons will pay toward construction and determine lease terms.
Also in the mix could be naming rights for the facility, the field and the scoreboard.
Authority officials said initial plans are for taxpayers to kick in about half the construction cost, though obviously a ton depends on whether revenues like naming rights count towards the public's share or the team's share. The Georgia Dome would remain standing, which seems fair enough since it would only be 25 years old when the new stadium opens in 2017 as currently planned; still, does any city really need two football stadiums half a mile apart? Even if you accept the argument that the city needs a dome to host the occasional NCAA Final Four, that's going to make for an awful lot of maintenance costs to be paid for with a tiny handful of events. Yet another reason not to take this too seriously until we see the actual numbers.