Falcons' Claims About Financial Impact of New Stadium Disputed by Economists
The stadium would be a big benefit to the Falcons, but not such a big financial benefit to the city or taxpayers.
The reporters talked to local and national economists and they agreed that a $700 million stadium is not going to create this mecca of jobs and an economic gold mine. There would certainly be a benefit to the thousands of construction workers out of jobs with the recession, as well as a boost to civic pride.
Owner Arthur Blank bought the team for $545 million in 2002. He wants the Falcons to get a better stadium model to increase revenue....for the Falcons.
Forbes magazine has ranked the Falcons 26th as far as value and taxpayers are going to hear that for the next two years as the stadium issue is debated. The team has fallen behind other clubs and somebody is going to be made to feel guilty about that.
Eventually, a stadium will be built, it just remains to be seen how much the taxpayers pay for it and how much the Falcons pay.
The team feels there is money through the hotel/motel tax, but opponents of a new stadium want that money spent on schools. The Atlanta Public Schools system is in the middle of a test-cheating scandal and there are vital overhauls needed for the system.
The stadium could help with development of the area north of the Dome but it might not. On the south side of Atlanta is a perfect example of a stadium as an island: Turner Field.
While the downtown Denver area got a boost from the opening of Coors Field, Turner Field has not spurred development. The Braves like it that way. They do not want fans spending money on high end restaurants outside the gates of Turner Field. They want that money spent inside.
The Falcons did not have an immediate comment on the economists' view, but they will. At some point, the threat of no Super Bowl for Atlanta is going to come up. If that doesn't work, the team many eventually threaten to leave for the suburbs.
That's the kind of threat that makes politicians cave in and make concessions.