Atlanta Falcons CEO Rich McKay and various other team officials met with the Atlanta City Council yesterday to present their plan to build a new retractable-roof stadium for the Falcons. The meeting was open to the public and included members of the Atlanta community, local business leaders, and officials from the Georgia World Congress Center Authority (GWCCA). The proposed stadium, which is projected to cost nearly $1 billion, would be funded through a combination of public and private sources. Under the current proposal, the Falcons are asking for $200 million, or 20 percent of the total construction cost, to be funded by a hotel/motel tax. Bonds issued by Invest Atlanta, the city's economic development agency, would cover any shortfalls from the hotel/motel tax and would not affect the city's future credit rating. The remaining 80 percent, or $800 million in construction costs, would be covered by the Atlanta Falcons and other private sources. Approximately $100 million of the Falcons' share of the cost would be funded by the sale of PSLs. PSLs have become a popular source of funding in recent years for teams looking to build new stadiums. Typically a PSL must first be purchased in order for fans to get access to their favorite team's season tickets.
Although Atlanta Falcons owner Arthur Blanks has publicly stated his preference for building a new stadium in downtown Atlanta, CEO Rich McKay reiterated in yesterday's meeting that the team would consider moving to another location in the metropolitan Atlanta area if the proposed stadium deal fails to go through. One possible benefit of building a stadium in the Atlanta suburbs would be an increase in the amount of available parking for Atlanta Falcons games. The Georgia Dome, the current home of the Atlanta Falcons, was built in 1992 and has hosted two Super Bowls, one in 1994 and another in 2000. However, many feel that a new stadium with a retractable roof would help Atlanta's chances of winning another Super Bowl hosting bid. The economic benefits for cities that host the Super Bowl can reach upwards of $250 million. With the Falcons current lease at the Georgia Dome set to expire in 2017, the Falcons and the Atlanta City Council will need to reach a deal soon if they want to keep the team based in downtown Atlanta.