Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Report: Atlanta Falcons to LA? The Fine Art of Stadium Negotiations

((ht: myfoxatlanta.com))

Local Atlanta breaking news: The Falcons may move to Los Angeles.

Really, you believe that?

Yes, that's right, Atlanta FOX-TV station, fronted by friend of the OSG Gil Tyree, reports that Atlanta mayor Kasim Reed is telling city council members that they need to be more aggressive in funding a "New" Falcons stadium or the team "Might" leave for Los Angeles.

This comes on the heels of a report, the team has settled on finalists to design the new palace:

Read the story from WXIA-TV RIGHT HERE

Seriously. Does anyone REALLY believe the Falcons "Might" leave Atlanta?

Check out the report from Thursday night:

Atlanta News, Weather, Traffic, and Sports | FOX 5

No, sorry, a lot of things may happen before the Falcons get a new stadium, but the Los Angeles Falcons, well, that is just throwing stuff out there. Or what is commonly referred to as being asked to "Stir the Pot".

Do we believe that Mayor Reed is floating this? Yes.

But this is called a "Scare Tactic".... designed to make the public think they might lose their team.

Nobody, is moving the team.

Here's why this is even being discussed:

The Falcons are trying to get a new stadium in Atlanta. The team is lagging behind other NFL Teams in generating revenue. And they feel strongly that the 20-year old Georgia Dome they currently play in is not going to be enough to help change that.

So they are in the process of trying to negotiate for a new stadium. And they've made what they believe to be a fair offer.

A $1 Billion stadium, funded primarily by owner Arthur Blank's $700 million. The team is asking the state to contribute the rest from an Atlanta area "Hotel/Motel" tax.

Here's the problem. The ultra-conservative people in Georgia are panicked over this. They believe, thanks in large part to the local media, that they will be on the hook for the $300 million. The common refrain is, "They have the Dome, why do we need to buy them a new place?" "Use the money for something better".

They aren't as "On the Hook" for this as they are being led to believe.

The $300 million would come from the Georgia World Congress Center, who manages the property they want to build on. That "Hotel/Motel" tax money, is money designated strictly for use by the GWCC. The money comes from visitors who come stay in Metro Atlanta, not the people who live there. And Blank is apparently willing to cover the inevitable cost overruns.

The Atlanta Business Chronicle briefly mentions it RIGHT HERE

But that isn't for the most part how it has been presented in Atlanta.

Read a story by WSB-TV RIGHT HERE

Mind you, we are not big fans of the public having to buy any gazillionaire a new place. You can look up our track record on the subject. But out of the deals we've read up on so far, this one has the least impact on the public we've ever seen short of the team paying the full ticket. We believe Blank has made a pretty strong offer.

What we don't like is the premise of potential "Seat Licenses" and higher prices. There's a reason the NFL, despite being the most popular televised event in all the land, is suffering a bit at the gate.

They've priced themselves out of reach for a lot of fans, for reasons like new stadiums to increase revenues.

But, what bothers us is the local Atlanta media has, for the most part, portrayed it as "You the taxpayer are paying to buy the Falcons a new stadium", leaving out the part about visitors from out of town who pay the "Hotel/Motel" tax will actually be footing the bill. And the Falcons have been thus far, losing the PR war. Surveys say that public is almost 70-30 against any tax money being involved. Not surprising

So....we're at a bit of a standoff.

The MyFoxAtlanta story goes on to mention that the state is leery of doing the deal, though Blank is pondering contributing more money. That's why Reed, and the city of Atlanta are looking to get in the game.

The whole thing quite honestly is a bit funny. With OSG World HQ based in Atlanta, we get to see the fine art of "Stadium Negotiation" take place in person. And like we said, we believe Reed said the "Falcons Might Move". But we don't believe it.

For a second.

The Falcons will get a new stadium in a couple of years, they'll win, the NFL always does. And the stadium will be financed primarily by Blank, though some government entity is going to end up ponying up money for a portion of it. Would the people of Atlanta rather tourists pay that part, or would they rather pay for it themselves?

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