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With the Economics Still in Question, a New Open-Air Falcons Stadium For Downtown Gains Momentum

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If you're just waking up to the discussion, here are the basics: the Atlanta Falcons currently play in the Georgia Dome, which was completed in 1992 at a cost of $214 million (and recently renovated at a cost of $30 million). And though it seems there are plenty of people that find it a perfectly nice place to watch a football game, Falcons owner Arthur Blank would disagree (as would the NFL). As word comes this week that Governor Deal and the State of Georgia seem inclined to help Blank in his quest for a new, open-air stadium on a parcel of land semi-adjacent to the Dome, more than a few folks are concerned about just how it will be paid for. And rightly so- the City and the State are kind of broke, right? The critics' arguments are bolstered by studies like these, which present a pretty compelling case that sports stadiums don't spark the local economic growth often cited in justification of bond or taxpayer financing for their construction. Plain old logic and practicality have some relevance here, too. Given Atlanta's many pressing infrastructure and education needs (to name just two), does it make sense to spend $694 million on a structure that the Falcons will use between 8-10 times per year? Hat Tip to AJC Buzz for making us aware of the U Illinois study.

· Pro Sports Stadiums Don't Bolster Local Economies, Scholars Say [News Bureau | Illinois Archives]
· Deal earmarks $15 million for land that'd be just great for a new Atlanta Falcons stadium [Creative Loafing]