Jan 13, 2013; Atlanta, GA, USA; Atlanta Falcons owner Arthur Blank reacts on the field after winning the game against the Seattle Seahawks 30-28 in the NFC divisional playoff game at the Georgia Dome. Mandatory Credit: Daniel Shirey-USA TODAY Sports
There’s a lot of different rumors flying around about the Atlanta Falcons potentially leaving the ATL and re-locating to Los Angeles. While there are some basic things that may lead the casual observer to believe the Falcons could move, there’s numerous reasons why the Falcons won’t.
Some reports state that Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed warned city council members that the city of Los Angeles is vying for a team to relocate. It’s a contentious issue, one in which each party seems to be simply leveraging the other parties against each other.
Arthur Blank simply doesn’t want to spend his own money building the stadium. The Georgia Dome, which was built well before he took ownership of the team, was built on taxpayer money, which was gained through the hotel-motel tax. It’s owned by the state. But the Falcons, as well as the city of Atlanta, feel that in order to have a venue worthy of a Super Bowl, they need to have a new upgraded stadium, preferably with a retractable roof. And simply upgrading the current stadium isn’t good enough.
So if Blank isn’t willing to build the stadium with his own money, the way the Patriots build Gillette Stadium, it will require taxpayer money, and a lot of it. But the state of Georgia hasn’t been able to find a way to raise the debt ceiling $100M for such a deal to become more possible.
It’s a messy situation, and right now the Falcons are having a rough time getting public funding for a new stadium. But here are the reasons the Falcons will not move:
1. Atlanta is finally embracing the Falcons. It may have taken 40+ years, but the city is totally embracing the Dirty Birds. Rather than seeing a large amount of opposing fans in the Georgia Dome, it’s now rare to see more than a handful of opposing fans at any time. The NFC Championship was watched by nearly 50% of the population of Atlanta. And that’s not simply because it’s a high-profile game; the city is really rallying around the Falcons.
2. Arthur Blank has deep roots in Atlanta. The business which brought him all of his wealth, The Home Depot, is based in Atlanta. He’s raising children here for crying out loud. I’d say the man has plenty of incentive to stay, especially with a community that has grown to love him for being a very good owner who, up to this point, hasn’t hesitated to spend money.
3. L.A. is always looking to draw a new team. A year or so ago, there were major conversations that the Minnesota Vikings would move to L.A. when they were going through major issues in finding proper funding for a new stadium. That obviously never came to fruition. A deal was eventually reached, even though L.A. was ready and willing to build a stadium if only a team would commit to re-locating there. If nothing else, this gives me more confidence that the Falcons and Georgia will work out a deal to keep the Falcons in the A.
Without getting totally into the nitty-gritty, these reasons should give Falcons fans hope. Yes, it’s a scary proposition that the Falcons, a team we have grown to love, may possibly move to another city. But there’s no need to fret. I would not be surprised if, in the next eight or so months, some sort of deal is reached.