Mayor Kasim Reed said his meeting with NFL commissioner Roger Goodell went well Thursday evening but indicated more work needs to be done to bring the Super Bowl back to Atlanta.
“Commissioner Goodell and I had a very good conversation regarding what Atlanta needs in order to be competitive for a future Super Bowl,” Reed said in a prepared statement. “He clearly expressed that a new arena is vital as we seek to host this signature event. I told him that I would welcome the opportunity to compete for the game, and that I strongly support Arthur Blank and the leadership of the Atlanta Falcons in this effort.”
Atlanta hosted the pro football championship game in 1994 and in 2000. Estimates put the value of a Super Bowl to the host city in the range of $500 million, although some analysts question whether those figures are inflated.
Kasim has teamed up with Gov.-elect Nathan Deal to bring the game back to Atlanta. Deal also met with the NFL commissioner Thursday. A spokeswoman for Deal said their meeting went well but that Deal had no new comments to offer Friday.
A spokesman for the NFL said the league also had no new comments about the matter. But while he was attending the Falcons-Ravens game here Thursday, Goodell indicated having a new arena would be key for Atlanta.
“I met with the Governor (elect Nathan Deal) earlier today,” Goodell said Thursday. “I think this is a great community. But as I mentioned to the people earlier today, the competition for the Super Bowl is really at an all-time high, in a large part because of the new stadiums. The provisions that they have for a new stadium in this great community, I think that’s a pretty powerful force. We have a history of going back to communities when they have those new stadiums.”
Goodell hinted that having an open-air arena is critical for Atlanta, said Reed spokeswoman Sonji Jacobs Dade. She shared this anecdote from Reed’s meeting with Goodell at Thursday night’s Falcons game: “The mayor at one point during the conversation said, ‘I really hope you are enjoying the great weather. It was chilly a couple of days ago. It has warmed up. This is what Atlanta is like in November.’”
“The commissioner said, ‘I have been enjoying the weather and I would be enjoying this game even more if I could feel the weather.’”