So, we’d get a Super Bowl. So what?

A partial quote from a blog post by my colleague Jim Galloway about Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed’s push for a new stadium for the Atlanta Falcons:

Among the reasons Reed cited for pursuing a new stadium, and why he is emphasizing his support:

“I believe we will be awarded a Super Bowl, and I think we have the best owner in America… .”

And my reaction to these particular rationales of the mayor:

So what?

Having a Super Bowl in town matters to two sets of people: Those who get to go to the game, and those who profit from its being here. The number of Atlantans who actually get to go to the game will be relatively small, and the most attractive estimates of the economic impact of the Super Bowl are almost always exaggerated. Officials in Indianapolis, site of the Super Bowl held last month, didn’t even try to pretend the biggest impact was really about money; rather, it’s about “image,” a kind of profit held in highest esteem by politicians and assorted other local poobahs.

Of course, “image” cuts both ways: Atlanta’s image in the eyes of the NFL after the last Super Bowl we hosted, the game in 2000, when an ice storm battered the city, was one of a city the hypocritical league did not want to revisit for its big game. At least, not until it was time to help one of its owners coerce taxpayers into buying him a new stadium.

Which brings us to Blank. The city may have scant incentive to spend upwards of $400 million of hotel/motel tax revenues on a stadium to replace — or just supplement — the 20-year-old Georgia Dome within, say, five years. But Blank can expect to make a lot more money from a new stadium.

Before investing that kind of money, it would be good to know exactly how much the Blank expects a new stadium to generate for his franchise. At $400 million for a stadium lasting 25 years — the apparent lifespan of a pro football stadium in this city based on our experience with Atlanta-Fulton County Stadium and now the Georgia Dome — we could keep the Dome, just give him $15 million a year and still come out slightly ahead. (Not that I’m advocating that kind of welfare, for the record; this is just for illustrative purposes.)

Given how many needs the city has, Reed might want to improve his sales pitch to his citizens.

– By Kyle Wingfield

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86 comments Add your comment

Want Some Cheese with that Whine?

March 15th, 2012
3:46 pm

Get over it Wingfield… the NFL is immensely powerful and profitable. What should we do with that money instead? Maybe build a trolley line from The Varsity to English Avenue? Or come up with a really new awesome slogan like “everyday is opening day?”

No matter how many needs the city has, our politicians wont address them anyway, so might as well get a new stadium out of it and get to see a football game outside in the ATL finally.

Kyle Wingfield

March 15th, 2012
3:49 pm

“the NFL is immensely powerful and profitable”

All the more reason for it not to be subsidized by taxpayers. And don’t tell me the money comes from out-of-towners and thus doesn’t fall on Atlanta taxpayers: Money is fungible.

Button Gwinnett

March 15th, 2012
3:53 pm

It irks me to agree with a ORomney/Santorum/Gingrich Statist ………..but I do.
.
Good job Kyle.
.
There is hope for you yet.
.
Ron Paul 2012-2020.
Our only hope.

Want Some Cheese with that Whine?

March 15th, 2012
3:55 pm

“Money is fungible”

And??

Want Some Cheese with that Whine?

March 15th, 2012
3:58 pm

Button,

Finding someone with Ron Paul’s economic views AND somewhat of a foreign policy that isn’t based on ridiculous isolationist sentiments is our only hope.

Read: we are hopeless.

Kyle Wingfield

March 15th, 2012
4:00 pm

…and if it’s not used for a stadium, it could be used for something currently funded by other tax revenues which could then be cut. For example: Hotel/motel tax revenues in Atlanta are approximately equal to one mill of property taxes.

Aquagirl

March 15th, 2012
4:03 pm

so might as well get a new stadium out of it and get to see a football game outside in the ATL finally.

What about Grant Field? Oh, wait, you said football. Never mind.

Want Some Cheese with that Whine?

March 15th, 2012
4:06 pm

OK, yeah, I absolutely agree that there are numerous better uses for that money… But since when does this city’s government use tax money for where it’s really needed? If we don’t get a new stadium, the money will undoubtedly be wasted on some BS like the trolley. Instead of wasting the money for political gain, I would much rather the city build something that will create revenue on the streets- and I’m not even going to touch the idea that only Blank profits from this, ridiculous.

I can think of a million other things to do with the money. So can you. Can/will the City of Atlanta?

Gues

March 15th, 2012
4:06 pm

I agree 100% *SO WHAT*—-So we build a multi-Billion Stadium to make a couple extra million for the Weekend? STUPID….I hope people come out in MASS to Protest. It’s so beyond egregious this would be discussed when almost 10% of Atlanta is unemployed and couldn’t afford (nor wouldn’t have access to one).

For years and years…we were told Atlanta would “Never” have a game in an open air stadium, we build a Dome—we get one Super Bowl—-now they say we need an open air to get another…

Why not let the Billionaire owner of the team build his own DAG GUM stadium…if he’s “best”–I’m sure he could come up with “Best” stadium and find outside financing for it…..

Richard

March 15th, 2012
4:07 pm

To be clear, this would be a valid way for Congressmen to talk about sports without stepping outside their jurisdiction. Congress has no business holding hearings on things like steroids, video taping practices, etc. However, bribing a city for taxpayer money? Where’s the Congressional hearing on that?

carlosgvv

March 15th, 2012
4:09 pm

How about we get all our homeless people off the streets and into physical and mental health treatments and then into job training. Then we can worry about a “super bowl” stadium.

Want Some Cheese with that Whine?

March 15th, 2012
4:11 pm

@Gues “It’s so beyond egregious this would be discussed when almost 10% of Atlanta is unemployed and couldn’t afford (nor wouldn’t have access to one)”

They can help build the stadium. And work there. And work in the resulting development around the stadium. And work for the companies that get contracts to build the stadium and can thusly afford to hire again. Just saying…

Want Some Cheese with that Whine?

March 15th, 2012
4:12 pm

@Carlosgv

And then we can save the baby seals and the whales and the unicorns and make peace all over the world and then eliminate hunger and war and everything icky forever and ever and ever

Guest

March 15th, 2012
4:13 pm

OH and @Kyle Wingfield—is PRECISELY right….I remember when the Olympics was coming to town. Frankie’s (I mention the name since “KARMA” hit them and they went out of business)–However they created an entire new menu of prices. Remember, this was back in 1995-6ish.

Guy brought the menu to my Table..I opened it, they wanted $14 ($13.95) for a Dozen wings!!!!!

I literally said to the guy…Can I please see the *REAL* menu and not the one for out of town Olympic guests? He signed and said, it’s the one. (Price of wings before the was like $7).

i’m SO GLAD “Karma” hit them and they GONE from Atlanta.

ByteMe

March 15th, 2012
4:13 pm

The NFL would play 10 times a year in the stadium. Up to 3 times more if the team makes the playoffs. 13 days tops during a 365 day year. The rest of the time, it’ll get used for other performances — NCAA tournament, concerts, circuses, monster trucks, etc. — but they are not generally profitable enterprises on their own. They can be highly profitable to the NFL owner who can get taxpayers to foot the bill, of course.

There is a corporate/business draw to having an NFL team in town, same as with most other professional teams. Not having one is a detriment when you’re trying to convince businesses to relocate here. At some point the (really crappy) Dome will need to be replaced just because it’ll hit its life expectancy.

I’d do it a different way. Put the taxpayers on the hook for a construction bond, but ensure that the bond is paid for “off the top” from stadium and ticket revenues (not after expenses and require a 20-year-lease from the team). That way, taxpayers are covered and we get a new stadium at muni bond rates (instead of corporate rates, which are higher).

Kyle Wingfield

March 15th, 2012
4:14 pm

Aquagirl @ 4:03: +1

Want Some Cheese with that Whine?

March 15th, 2012
4:14 pm

Junior Samples

March 15th, 2012
4:14 pm

I agree it’s all about image.
We can’t afford it now.
If Blank wants a new stadium then he can build it, and charge admission accordingly.

Kyle Wingfield

March 15th, 2012
4:15 pm

Richard @ 4:07: I believe this is probably closer to blackmail than bribery.

Kyle Wingfield

March 15th, 2012
4:21 pm

ByteMe: That scenario about all the other events taking place there rests on the assumption we’d demolish the Dome. There’s also the possibility we keep both — in which case we’re building a stadium that would sit empty 352-355 days of the year.

Now, Sanford Stadium sits empty 358-359 days of the year. But it’s also been there since 1929…

Btw, I’m pretty sure the Falcons wouldn’t go for your counter-proposal.

Jefferson

March 15th, 2012
4:21 pm

Atlanta looked good when the Olympics came to town…

Finn McCool (Class Warfare = Stopping Rich People from TAKING MORE of OUR MONEY)

March 15th, 2012
4:22 pm

Let the owners pay for the stadium.

rivercard

March 15th, 2012
4:24 pm

Ethics and now this. This liberal loon has agreed with you twice in a 24 hour time frame.

I need a drink to off set this bipartisan nausea I’m feeling.

Arthur can go build his own damn stadium. Need a loan then get it from the NFL. Parasites.

Jefferson

March 15th, 2012
4:28 pm

On one hand it is like the Southern Co getting welfare to build a reactor, just different justifications.

Jefferson

March 15th, 2012
4:34 pm

To oppose it would take away the possiblity of Kyle’s buddy in the state legislator not getting tickets to take his son to a FREE super bowl.

NOOOOO!

March 15th, 2012
4:41 pm

Don’t do it! Government backed stadiums are the biggest tax-payer rip-off in the history of urban development. Good gravy this is the LAST thing ATL needs to blow money on and believe me, it will come in over cost and who gets stuck with that bill? Some areas directly downtown don’t even have decent sidewalks.

AmVet

March 15th, 2012
4:43 pm

Well, it could always be worse.

Pity the poor Mets fan who walks into that stadium and what does he see plastered all over it?

The name of one of the most scandal-ridden, banksterized, money laundering conglomerates in the world.

But since it is a Mets fan, I only feel a tiny bit sorry for him!

ByteMe

March 15th, 2012
4:44 pm

Kyle @ 4:21, I’m VERY sure you’re right that they won’t go for it unless they are left with no other options. And walking away from the Dome to go elsewhere will become one of their options if Blank ever sells.

As for having two stadiums… well that’s just stupid. We tore down Fulton County Stadium for a reason. We should replace the Dome the same way… make them play at Turner Field for 3 years while it gets built. Only conflict might be a World Series appearance by the Braves… oh, never mind :)

Dusty

March 15th, 2012
4:52 pm

Well, sure, let’s build a brand new, eye popping, mayor loving stadium. Just think, we could put a super water works under the stadium, a new sewer system under the parking lot, a helicopter pad over the press box, a giant gazebo for the trolley cars, and on the fringes we could build super new hotels and even a nice new hospital specializing in brain injuries.

Now why didn’t we think of this before. I’ll give Mr. Blank a dollar just to get him going (if he follows my advice). That ougta do it. He won’t mind giving us the rest of that lil ol’ tab. It’s deductible Mr. Blank?? MR. BLANK???

tiberius your lightning rod of hate!

March 15th, 2012
4:58 pm

Lets be clear about this. The best NFL owner is Robert Kraft of the New England Patriots. Period. End of story.

Why?

Because he builds his stadiums withot taxpayer money. Mr. Blank should take note of this. As should Kaseem Reed.

JF McNamara

March 15th, 2012
5:01 pm

I love me some football, but can’t he finance his own stadium? It breaks down to $26M a year, and the NFL makes $9B per year. If he’s getting an equal split, he’s getting $281M per year in revenue with only 50% allocated to players.

That means, he’s saying that he can’t run the business and finance his own stadium even though he’s bringing in $141M in revenue AFTER player costs. Plus, he gets the land and any residual value of the stadium after use.

Give me a break. I’ll march on the capital to be against this.

tiberius your lightning rod of hate!

March 15th, 2012
5:03 pm

“The most scandal ridden money laundering conglomerates in history ”

I didn’t realize the Obama reelection committee sponsored Mets field. . .

@@

March 15th, 2012
5:07 pm

Drawing a Blank.

Imagine, if you will, that he’s Eric Weems and I’m Mike Turner.

Makes me wanna throw Blank into oncoming traffic.

schnirt

Lee Weber

March 15th, 2012
5:11 pm

At the Press Club last month, the mayor made a good point. He said “every city that has fought this battle has lost.” Meaning that if the city doesn’t fund a new stadium, the team will move…maybe out of the city, maybe out of the state. He’s right about this…the 49er’s will start playing in Santa Clara next year, for example, which is nowhere near San Francisco.

I am in no way arguing that the city should fund a new stadium, but his point is valid. The voters will just have to decide whether they want the Birds downtown or not. Seems like this should be referendum issue, which I assume it would be since the city would need to issue bonds…right?

Dusty

March 15th, 2012
5:25 pm

What? Somebody cares if the Falcons left town? Well, I think both of them would get over it.

What’s the mayor thinking about? Atlanta has already been burned to the ground once and the phoenix is too worn out to rise again. He tried it with the Olympics and got his tailfeathers scorched. We don’t need another bonfire for the vanities!

Anyway, football is for floozies and the braindead. No use to encourage that population.

Just saying..

March 15th, 2012
5:35 pm

So what is right. And I’m a season ticket holder.

John from Candler Park

March 15th, 2012
5:42 pm

“Want some cheese…” smells a little cheesy. Maybe he’s fungible too.

Taxi Smith

March 15th, 2012
5:43 pm

Let’s see…if the Falcons left Atlanta it would affect me…how? Don’t want them to go, just don’t care if they do.

Hillbilly D

March 15th, 2012
5:45 pm

But since it is a Mets fan, I only feel a tiny bit sorry for him!

Dude, you’re a more compassionate person than I am. :lol:

To ol’ Arthur:

Bud, why don’t you show us how the free market that we’re always hearing about is supposed to work. Pay for your own damn stadium, if you want one. If you want to throw a hissy fit and take your football and go home, so be it.

As Sonny Clusters once pointed out over on a sports blog, there was a picture of ol’ Arthur, sitting on a horse, dressed up in his cowboy suit, and wearing a Rolex. Most taxpayers don’t have a Rolex, a horse, or a cowboy suit. If you can afford that, don’t be coming to us in the Great Unwashed with your hand out.

Richard

March 15th, 2012
5:48 pm

Touche Kyle, blackmail does work better.

Dusty

March 15th, 2012
5:50 pm

Just saying, 5:35

So you’ve got one of those falcon stickers on your car? A cheerleader picture in your wallet? A helmet you wear in the shower? A little red football you keep on your desk? A snapshot of the mutt that won the last dogfight? A faded-falcon sweatshirt to wear when washing the car? A brain damaged bobble head doll swaying by your windshield?

YES! Give these guys a new playground. Forget the cost! Atlanta needs….. another TOUCHDOWN!!!!

Dusty

March 15th, 2012
6:01 pm

Hillbilly D,

Come on!! You secretly want a cowboy suit! I bet you’d be a big hit around town!!

(I’m just kidding. The only person who should wear a cowboy outfit is John Wayne and he done gone!)

Britnae

March 15th, 2012
6:02 pm

Kyle,

I despise you and disagree with just about everything you write, but on this issue your spot-on. Good on you.

Aquagirl

March 15th, 2012
6:02 pm

At the Press Club last month, the mayor made a good point. He said “every city that has fought this battle has lost.”

That was mostly before many cities were battling double-digit unemployment. It’s not a seller’s market for sports franchises anymore.

Puck

March 15th, 2012
6:07 pm

Since lobbyists will be able to give state legislators free tickets due to the lack of a gift ban, the new stadium is probably a done deal.

Hillbilly D

March 15th, 2012
6:07 pm

Dusty @ 6:01

To paraphrase the late, great Lewis Grizzard during the Urban Cowboy period, back in the 80’s or whenever it was, “Every American has to play cowboy at some time or other in their lives. Most of us do it when we are kids”. I did it before I started to school. ;-)

Dusty

March 15th, 2012
6:22 pm

Hillbilly D

Wish I had a picture of you in your cowboy outfit. I bet you were a “killer” on the playground.

I never had any brothers and “cow girls” got no getup & go.. But I confess that at some early age I had a RaggedyAnne doll and a big stuffed frog. So I did not miss all the good stuff.

I Report (-: You Whine )-: mmm, mmmm, mmmmm! Just sayin...

March 15th, 2012
6:29 pm

Even our most disciplined troops — not the few problem troops — have lost all idealism. They have not lost heart for the fight. Mostly, they just don’t care. They fight because they are ordered to fight, but they have eyes wide open. The halfhearted surge and sudden drawdown leave little room for success.

Chalk up another lost war to the dummycrats.

Dusty

March 15th, 2012
6:41 pm

AquaGIrl, 6:02

I thought you were on the Obama link line. Doncha know that unemployment has dropped by .0002% which means the whole economy has been SAVED and stadiums will spring from the earth with joy?

I don’t know how you missed all this uplifting info thrown our way by these bearers of good news. Have you been kicked out of the club for acting up or something?

I Report (-: You Whine )-: mmm, mmmm, mmmmm! Just sayin...

March 15th, 2012
7:03 pm

But this assumption that everything the free markets come up with is somehow corrupt — it’s dirty, it’s evil, it’s polluted, it destroys the planet — but algae is great? What’s the difference? Algae and oil are no different than a blade of grass, no different than a mud puddle. It’s all nature. Oil, nobody created it. Big Oil doesn’t manufacture it.

Now all we have to do to make obozo’s goofy dream of algae biofuel, which of course needs lots of oil to convert, is wait 100,000 years for the algae to turn into oil and then drill for it.

Check the dictionary for the word “mindless.”