New Atlanta stadium: Don’t raise the roof for Super Bowl

“No dome, no Super Bowl” in Atlanta — Norman Braman, then-chairman of the NFL’s Super Bowl selection committee, 1989

“… we could not overcome the prejudice of the owners’ vote concerning the 2000 ice storm” the last time the Super Bowl was in Atlanta — Gary Stokan, president of the Atlanta Sports Council, in a 2005 memo

“The [Super Bowl] is meant to be played in the elements” — Roger Goodell, commissioner of the NFL, 2010

Which of these statements does not belong?

There are any number of reasons to oppose using tax revenues to build a second downtown stadium for professional football. First and foremost, there are far more pressing needs for the several million dollars a year in Atlanta hotel taxes that will be freed up when the Georgia Dome is paid off. (Our GOP-dominated Legislature and Republican governor apparently thought otherwise this spring when they approved a 30-year extension of the tax to pay for a new stadium.)

There may also be reasons to support the new facility. Bringing the Super Bowl back to Atlanta isn’t one of them. That goes double after the NFL’s double-speak last week.

For years, Atlantans were told we needed a domed — read: bad-weather-proof — stadium to land the Super Bowl. Then a rare ice storm hit during the second one played here, in 2000. The game hasn’t returned since.

Now, we’re supposed to believe that the problem is our lack of a stadium that would expose players and fans to the same “elements” that have scared off the NFL for more than a decade. Which is it, fellas?

It’s fairly obvious that the NFL’s “elements” talk is all about boosting the Falcons’ bid for a new home. Because the history of the game beyond Atlanta doesn’t support the commissioner’s “elements” claim.

Thirteen of the 44 Super Bowls to date have been played indoors. Of the other 31, just eight have been played farther north than Atlanta: seven in and around that “northern” city of Los Angeles, and one near San Francisco. The last of these eight took place in 1993.

Twice the Super Bowl has been played in a stadium with a retractable roof. On neither occasion was the roof kept open for the game. (During one of them it was raining, but rain must represent the wrong kind of “elements” for championship football.) Three of the next four Super Bowls, the only future games whose sites have been determined so far, will be played in stadiums with roofs.

The exception is the 2014 game outside New York City. NFL owners approved that game site for the novelty factor of staging their big game in the Big Apple, and in spite of their meteorological misgivings. In any case, one game does not make a trend.

Nor is it likely that an Atlanta with two football stadiums could attract many more football games — and the fans who fill our hotels and restaurants while in town to witness them — than the city attracts now.

We already have the Southeastern Conference title game (moved here from an outdoor stadium in Birmingham because of — wait for it — “the elements”). We already have the Chick-fil-A Bowl (which moved from the great outdoors of old Atlanta-Fulton County Stadium to a brand-new Georgia Dome faster than you can say “Eat mor chikin”) and, soon, two preseason college games. Plus, of course, two college football programs, another one just up the road, and an NFL franchise.

So, maybe a second stadium gets us a couple of Super Bowls and, in the rosiest scenario imaginable, some opening-round games in a single soccer World Cup.

In which case I’d tell the NFL to play its big game in somebody else’s elements. We’ll watch it on TV, thanks.

87 comments Add your comment

Don't Touch My Junk

November 17th, 2010
7:35 pm

The GA Dome is a cheap piece of junk.

They did it right in Texas. Say what you will about Jerry Jones and Dallas but that facility is the best in the world and worth every dime.

BTW – I worked in the concert business for 20 years.

Don't Touch My Junk

November 17th, 2010
7:37 pm

Ooops. The BIG mistake they made in Dallas is parking. It’s outrageous and pee-poor. The crews have to pay $50 just so they can come to work. Stagehands and techs are screwed. I heard they fixed this recently.

Rafe Hollister

November 17th, 2010
8:17 pm

The Georgia Dome is an excellent stadium and venue. If I had my way Fulton County Stadium would have been renovated to a football only stadium, after the Olympics. It was stupid to tear it down and would be even more Stupid to try and maintain two stadiums or tear down the Dome. The NFL is fickle to say the least, they are only concerned with their own revenue/income. Politicians should inform Blank and the NFL if this is so important to you, build it yourself.

Don't Touch My Junk

November 17th, 2010
8:37 pm

Rafe – Take my word for it. I’ve done dozens of gigs in the dome.

They should have put in a retractable roof. This is why – FAIL.

The last Super Bowl here in ATL? Remember the ice storm? The weight of the ice on the tent roof plus the weight of the extra sound, light, video, etc. was at the limit.

That means they almost had to postpone The Super Bowl because they were afriad the roof might collapse.

signed – VETERAN


November 17th, 2010
8:48 pm

Having super bowl in domed stadium much better than outdoors in the northern part of the country. Super bowls are played for the TV audience more than those in attendance at the game. Bad coincidence that ice storm swept through Atlanta in 2000. Cowboys Stadium is an awesome experience. Going tomorrow night to see a high school football playoff game because it is the cheapest way to see a game there. However, ice storms do happen in the Dallas area in February just like they do in Atlanta. Arlington, Texas has no mass transit. Roads near Cowboys Stadium will be closed 3 stinking weeks before the super bowl game. I say stick with the Georgia Dome a few more years and see what happens.

Rafe Hollister

November 17th, 2010
8:55 pm

What does a Cowboys ticket cost in Jerry Jones’ House of Ostentatiousness? The common Atlanta Fan can’t afford a ticket to the Falcons now, what would Arthur demand if he had a showplace. If the tickets cost too much, attendance falls.

And finally, I believe ole Jerry paid for most of his Football Taj Mahal and did not whine and complain to the taxpayers for help. So, if Arthur wants his own Taj, he should build it, otherwise postpone on those ice storm Sundays. Don’t think we have had one since 2000 and few before.

Don't Touch My Junk

November 17th, 2010
9:03 pm

Football, Concerts and Corporate Events will pay whatever the market will dictate.

How much was that last concert ticket you bought? $50 bux to see somebody at Philips Arena… Those were nose-bleeds.

Like it or not places like Dallas and New York with their “fancy” new facilities are brilliant and profitable.

Itz a biznez.

Don't Touch My Junk

November 17th, 2010
9:13 pm

Personally, I’d like to see Mr. Blank pay for a World-Class facility from his own pocket and keep it a privately owned facility.

Don't Touch My Junk

November 17th, 2010
9:24 pm

If you have bad team it’s hard to sell tickets. If you have a good team people are willing to pay a lot of money.

Please build a new football stadium.

Dear Mr. Blank,

Please buy the Doraville site and do it there. The property is still up for grabs….

If you stay downtown then please do it right. Parking is the key. We want to tailgate !!

Retractable roof with real grass !!

Hillbilly Deluxe

November 17th, 2010
10:31 pm

The NFL is an extremely profitable business. Arthur Blank is one of the richest men in the state. If they want a new stadium, fine; let them pay for it. Let’s keep the government out of a private business.


November 17th, 2010
10:45 pm

Wingfield, I’m with you here. The Dome was built in 1992. Blank has more money than my entire family will ever have. The NFL is swimming in cash (but still disconnected a game I was watchin in OT a week and a half ago). The economy is in the crapper. The old Dome is either barely paid off or we are still paying for it.

And these guys want us to pay for their playgrounds? Less than 20 years ago, the Dome opened. And these jerks need another playground on the backs of Atlantans?

Screw them. I hope someone mugs Blank and beats him over the head with a club for even considering getting government to bilk the working man again.


November 17th, 2010
11:04 pm

Weird how pro stadiums wear out so fast and college ones do not. Can you imagine what would happen if someone suggested tearing down Samford Stadium and replacing it with a new one just so they could sell more luxury boxes?


November 17th, 2010
11:33 pm

I bet the ACC Championship would come to town and take whichever stadium the SEC doesn’t want.


November 17th, 2010
11:54 pm

Meanwhile, just before last year’s Super Bowl, that very same Commissioner Goodell told Miami that they’d likely need a ROOF over their stadium to prevent another drenching like they had in 2007. They’ll say whatever they have to, and it’s all just a huge soak-the-taxpayer scam, folks. The NFL is now going to expect every market in America to ante up $1 Billion (or more) for football palaces like the Cowboys’ new Enormo-Retracto-Dome, and they’ll waive that one-time-only Super Bowl carrot out there as a consolation prize for being suckered into buying stadiums for billionaires that millionaires play games in. Bread and circuses. Just say NO!

Samford what?

November 18th, 2010
12:14 am

Is Samford Stadium in Birmingham? I doubt anyone would care if they tore that down.

Falcon Fan

November 18th, 2010
12:19 am

I’m all for Blank paying for a new stadium- and only because I think that taxpayers shouldn’t pay for it and because it would be a nicer facility than one funded with taxpayer money.

Like it or not the Dallas stadium is profitable and keeps events coming in. Jones building it himself and making it a palace was a stroke of genius. Its a risk for sure, but how many owners will follow? not many, those that do have the chance to snag many large regional events. Plus Blank could build it where he wants to- GWCC might as well tear down the dome- its of no use if a new one is built.

And the NFL is very, very fickle, but I can’t blame them on skipping ATL…I mean do we really think that the Georgia Dome is where the premier sports event of the year should be? Grasping at straws there.


November 18th, 2010
12:23 am

No problemo. Tear off the roof and pay some homeless guys to pull a tarp over the opening whenever it rains or ice storms, then back off when the sun comes out. Total investment a couple hundred bucks and a few bottles of Ripple and it’s Hello Super Bowl.

Dallas Cowboy Cheerleader

November 18th, 2010
1:50 am

For all the talk about how shiny and new the stadiums in Dallas and NYC are… Please know that the new stadiums in Dallas and NYC will be deemed obsolete and ageing in about ten years. It seems the shelf life of a new NFL stadium is not that long… and at what costs to the public?
Don’t be held hostage to the whims of the NFL brass and its billionaire owners.


November 18th, 2010
2:05 am

Boy oh boy, did the NFL time this little, off the cuff remark to the Shady Deal with perfect timing, or what? Enough bidness to take care of his entire personal insolvency in just one deal. He probably didn’t even realize he had come out in favor of something for Atlanta (as stupid and ill-advised it is is) until he woke up the next morning. But, as all the good old boys all say . . . bidness is bidness. Yep, the Gov is on board, along with many others under the Dome seeing a huge opportunity to line their pockets. But, unfortunately for them, even the most devout Georgia supporters of good old boys doing bidness are going to throw the flag on this one. Of the top 10 major issues now facing this state that is quickly falling behind the rest of the new, New South, where would a new, multi-gazillion outdoor professional football stadium fall? Maybe in 41st place . . . on a good day. These NFL guys are not looking to pay for these stadiums, they are looking for the city, county, and state taxpayers, along with everyone who may ever need a hotel room in Atlanta during the next 100 years, to pay for it. And guess what? Compared to lots and lots and lots of other more important things, we don’t need one. We’ll see how this goes. I am worried it won’t go well. The Gov’s door is already open for bidness because of his insolvency, and he is a proven bidness man’s politician. And now the top Pub Senators have gotten Cagle out of the way so the lobbyists can go straight to them and avoid the middle man. Just what Georgia needs in a economy in crisis, to replace a perfectly good stadium facility . . . but, bidness is bidness.

Tony Smith

November 18th, 2010
6:02 am

I love football as much as anyone. But the taxpayers do not need to be held hostage by the NFL. If the Falcons need a new stadium, they need to build it themselves. The amount of money an NFL team generates for a community is overstated.

Nice White Guy

November 18th, 2010
6:33 am

BIG business is against socialism. Until it benefits them.

Sorry, entertainers, no more welfare for the wealthy.

Joe the Plutocrat (the artist formerly known as paleo-neo-Carlinist)

November 18th, 2010
6:51 am

this is getting easy. plutocracy in action, folks. the NFL is like the Federal Reserve (it’s owned by the team owners). as the quintesential plutocracy, the NFL wants common folk to fund their enterprises. in order to do so, they spin wonderful narratives about the “economic impact” of state-of-the-art arenas (which oddly enough, become obsolete within 15-20 years). where are all the “redistribution of wealth” wags? OH, and the only reason Atlanta got the 2000 Super Bowl was Arizona refused to recognize the MLK, Jr. holiday, so the NFL PC police (marketing) took away the carrot and gave AZ some stick. this screed belongs in the business section or on the sports page. oh, and when taxpayers fund such enterprises, is it out of line to discuss “athlete/executive” compensation?

Ragnar Danneskjöld

November 18th, 2010
6:56 am

So long as they do not increase any taxes, I do not care what they do. I have not watched a complete football game, even on television, in 25 years. Perhaps eliminate all other government functions in Fulton.

A Hearty Cheese Sauce

November 18th, 2010
7:29 am

I wouldlnt travel to the Atl GHETTO to see any teams play.


November 18th, 2010
7:46 am

We are in a deep recession and have been for years. Many people cannot find work, are losing their homes and are desperately trying to find someplace to live. So, who in their right mind is supporting using tax revenues to build a second statium in times like these? Is this denial or just stupidity and greed?


November 18th, 2010
7:50 am

We’ve got a perfectly good stadium that allows us to have a great, winning team in the NFL and lets fans watch games in person and have a good time. Anything beyond that the team’s owner can pay for, taxpayers have spent enough money on other peoples’ projects.

Kelly in the PTC

November 18th, 2010
8:06 am

The new series on AMC, The Walking Dead, precisely captures my opinion of the “citizenry” and “culuture” of Downtown Atlanta.

Aside from the tax breaks, it is little wonder why AMC elected to film that series there.

Why would any of us want to take our families there to watch football in that cesspool?

Nuke that mistake, and start over.


November 18th, 2010
8:21 am

“The Walking Dead” does not capture the essence of the City of Atlanta, as there is FAR TOO MUCH diversity in the demographic breakdown of those zombies wandering along Marietta Street for the show to be believable to anyone who as actually been downtown for a Falcons game.

This was especially true during the dark days of our city known as “The Mike Vick Era.”

Unfortunately, the encounters of the NFL owners, elite and fans with our resident zombies… er, panhandlers… is a HUGE reason why we won’t be seeing another Super Bowl here for some time.

(Thank Goodness!)


November 18th, 2010
8:38 am

No taxes should be spent on another lamp-brained boondoggle for some rich fat-cats. If the sports lovers want a stadium , then use private funds. The public should not be subsidizing pro-sports.


November 18th, 2010
8:41 am

Yeah, we would get to pay for it, but would we get tix to the Super Bowl? Hell No!

JF McNamara

November 18th, 2010
9:17 am

The Georgia Dome is fine. If Blank wants a newer stadium with more high revenue luxury boxes, then he needs to fund it.

After going to a Super Bowl, I think it should always be in a warm weather city. There are lots of people out and numerous outdoor parties and events. It’s a really fun vacation. Cold weather will only make it worse, and Atlanta is too cold.

The Truth Will Lock You Up

November 18th, 2010
9:31 am

One thing for sure – no matter where the Super Bowl is held, Cam Newton won’t be playing in it because he and his family are dirty and money-hungry thugs and this entire Auburn season will be erased because of the actions of he and his family. Shame on you, Cam Newton!

Michel Phillip

November 18th, 2010
10:12 am

The right question is NOT whether the Georgia Dome is better than other stadiums in other cities, or whether a new stadium in Atlanta would be better.

The right question is which would be a smarter investment for the city: investing tens of millions of $ in a new stadium, or investing that same money in improving the schools, or police protection, or transportation infrastructure. And I think the answer is pretty obvious.


November 18th, 2010
10:23 am

Kyle why can’t “arfur” blank a “great business man” come up with aviable plan to build and pay for a dome for his football team.

Why should ordinary citizens be robbed of their hard earned money because “arfur” blank wants a free stadium?

A billionaire wants the citizens to pay for a stadium so that he can prance around on weekends and be on t.v.

This iain’t the green bay packers.

let the clown who claims to be a genius build another stadium on his own. Warren buffet dumped all his HD shares yesterday.

“arfur” just got lucky right place right time.

Logical Dude

November 18th, 2010
10:30 am

The NFL said the same thing about San Diego. So, sure, if the stadiums are wayyyy out of date, then they should be upgraded.
Modern plumbing that can handle 100,000 people at half-time. Modern amenities and good food available instead of 3 day old hot dogs (yes, that’ exaggeration). More box seats because those bring in ten times as much money as any other seat and can sell to businesses a lot easier. Which would a business rather have? A dozen seats where people get sun-burnt, rained on, or next to a drunk heckling fan; or a nice enclosed area where they can have full wine service and a bar?

Why stadiums just can’t be upgraded for a tenth of the price of a new stadium is beyond me. But the NFL for some reason hates tradition and likes brand-spanking new stadiums. If they want the stadiums so bad, they should pay for them. IF we pay for a stadium, I want one available for multiple sports, multiple events, and with the local name. Not a business name. (Georgia Dome vs. Quest Field).

And yes, the Doraville area is the PERFECT place. Large land/parking. MARTA directly parks there. And yes, Soccer is big and the area has many hispanics aching to go to big soccer games. I’d want to go too, but from the looks of things, Atlanta (and Georgia) are unable to commit to that level of forward thinking.


November 18th, 2010
11:10 am

The changed the flag for the olympics, why not ? Kickbacks and political contributions involved? Ride the streetcar to the stadium, sounds like a plan.

BS Aplenty

November 18th, 2010
11:27 am

Every business, especially retail, is constantly under market pressure to upgrade the customer experience. That usually means, amoung other things, expenditures on physical facilities, leasehold improvements and the like. So, I don’t absolutely rule out the new stadium with the following caveats:

1) it happens no earlier than the next ten years (it took 3.5 years to build Cowboys Stadium),
2) it stays in Atlanta,
3) the financing package includes significant funds from the Atlanta Falcons owner,
4) the Falcons upgrade cheerleaders so they look as good as the Cowboys cheerleaders,
5) Bookman quits talking and starts a personal foundation to provide healthcare for all Americans (after which hell freezes over), and
6) AJC trades Luckovich to Seattle for a precocious 5th grade art student and a big box of Crayons.

…wait a second, I can’t stop laughing about No. 6…

Left wing management

November 18th, 2010
11:34 am

I agree with you, Kyle.

The NFL can go to HELL!

November 18th, 2010
11:39 am

Atlanta may have a quality pro team in the Falcons, but Atlanta has more than proven its mettle as a certified COLLEGE FOOTBALL town, YEAH!!!!! I’m kind of with alot of the posters on here that say that if ol’ Arthur Blank wants a stadium, then he should build it himself! Atlanta doesn’t need two stadiums, only one

finn mccool

November 18th, 2010
11:40 am

It was silly to put a dome in Atlanta in the first place. If they can play out doors in Green Bay then they surely can play out doors in Atlanta.

The NFL can go to HELL!

November 18th, 2010
11:48 am


November 17th, 2010
11:33 pm
“I bet the ACC Championship would come to town and take whichever stadium the SEC doesn’t want.”

HELL’s YEAH!!!!! It’s a no-brainer that the ACC would want to bring their championship game to a REAL college football town in Atlanta! Atlanta shouldn’t be tempted like a moth to a flame and be burned by the fire of hoping to lure a Super Bowl that still may not decide to come calling if taxpayer money is used to build a new stadium for that specific purpose. Atlanta is already fast becoming the MECCA of College Football, why screw with that to play “catch me if you can” games with a very fickle NFL?

The NFL can go to HELL!

November 18th, 2010
11:54 am

finn mccool

November 18th, 2010
11:40 am
“It was silly to put a dome in Atlanta in the first place. If they can play out doors in Green Bay then they surely can play out doors in Atlanta.”

It wasn’t that silly because the Georgia Dome wasn’t built for the sole purpose of strictly hosting football games only. The Georgia Dome was built to help Atlanta snag major conventions, tradeshows, NCAA college basketball games (Final Fours, etc) and, ESPECIALLY, College Football games.


November 18th, 2010
12:04 pm

Problem is Dallas has set the financial bar so high with its new stadium…if anyone wants to compete in the future they will need to either match or excel that stadium and its 1.3 billion dollar price tag.


November 18th, 2010
12:07 pm

“The new series on AMC, The Walking Dead, precisely captures my opinion of the “citizenry” and “culuture” of Downtown Atlanta.

Aside from the tax breaks, it is little wonder why AMC elected to film that series there.

Why would any of us want to take our families there to watch football in that cesspool?

Nuke that mistake, and start over.”

AS a resident of downtown, let me be the first to invite you to go straight to h@ll.

Multipoos Rule

November 18th, 2010
12:17 pm

Why can’t Bernie Marcus pay for it?


November 18th, 2010
12:55 pm

@ The NFL can go to HELL!:

Charlotte is doing just fine with the ACC Championship game. It’s only 2.5 hours from Blacksburg to Charlotte so Hokie fans won’t want the inconvenience of driving 4 extra hours each year.

Atlanta doesn’t need a replacement for the Dome any more than Charlotte needs a replacement for BofA Stadium:

Greedy owners need to pay for their own damn toys…


November 18th, 2010
12:58 pm

Use the hotel tax and tourist money to pay for upgrades to water and sewer systems in Atlanta and Fulton County.


November 18th, 2010
1:03 pm

It all comes down to money. Owners don’t NEED new stadiums, they just want to fleece the local commoners for new stadiums in order to pad their own pockets. Look at what happened in Miami with the Marlins…they lied about their finances to get a sweetheart stadium basically for free. It’s happened time and time again during the “boom” years of the 1990s-2000s.

Time to march on your local governments in order to do the right thing for your taxpaying constituents. IMO we need schools and libraries in this day and age more than we need new stadiums…call me crazy…

A Hearty Cheese Sauce

November 18th, 2010
1:03 pm

Just as you or I would, Charlie Rangel should go strait to f-ing jail.

Hopefully Maxine Waters is next.


November 18th, 2010
1:06 pm

Per ticket prices at Cowboys Stadium……………obviously cost depends on where you sit and if you buy anything to eat/drink. I have heard that the average cost for a family of four to attend a Cowboys’ game is $748.00. Probably decent seats, $65.00 for parking, and purchasing something to eat/drink and trinkets that cost two arms and two legs. I went to the opening of the stadium when George Strait and others performed on 6/6/09. Our seat tickets were $90.00 and were on the opposite end of the stage. The only way I could really see the performers was on the giant screen above the field. Of course, my neck was locked into one position after looking at the screen all night.