Friday, March 11, 2011

$400 Million Dollars

We've been hearing about it for years, but the voices demanding a new stadium for the Atlanta Falcons continue to rise in volume, and look more and more serious. The whole pricetag would be north of $700M, of which $400M would be on the taxpayers. And (unlike Dallas) the plans for the new Bird's Nest would be an uncovered stadium with less seating capacity.

Meanwhile, real conservative Kyle Wingfield of the AJC goes over all the other things Atlanta could do with that stadium money.

Hell, he even includes streetcars, mass transit, and trains on his list.

Of course, if Atlanta does build a new Falcons' stadium, they might get rid of the Georgia Dome, even though they say they want to keep it. The reason to keep it is pretty solid: the Georgia Dome hosts the Chick Fil-A Kickoff Classic, the Peach Bowl, the Georgia State Panthers regular season and OH YES THE SOUTHEASTERN CONFERENCE CHAMPIONSHIP GAME. But how long do you think two NFL sized football stadiums will last a few parking lots away from one another?

Maybe the SEC could just buy the facility outright, which wouldn't be a bad idea, actually. Atlanta is, primarily, a college football town. The move could make economic sense for both the conference and the city. But such manuvering might not pan out, and who knows what will happen in 6 years?

This tells me one thing: New Orleans needs to have a 5-year bid to host the SEC Championship Game ready to roll before 2017. That's one of the only games on the planet more valuable than the Sugar Bowl. If there were ever an opportunity to get that game out of Atlanta, this would be it.



Dante said...

New Orleans is logistically a bit of a pickle for an SEC Championship Game. Had the SEC Championship Game always been in Atlanta, the average travel distance for both teams would've been roughly 560 miles. If it were in New Orleans that whole time, the average travel distance would've been roughly 840 miles with the East team picking up at least 530 miles every single year. To keep that in perspective, the longest a team has ever had to travel to reach the SEC Championship Game is LSU who has to travel 525 miles to Atlanta. That's fine for a Sugar Bowl you have a month to prepare for. It's not-so-fine for an SEC Championship Game that is played exactly one week after the SEC's in-state rivalry games every single year.

Birmingham could make the case that they should be back in the rotation if Atlanta de-domes and maybe Nashville has a shot if they really want it. But I'd be willing to wager a decent sum of money that the SEC in its current setup never uses New Orleans as the site for its Championship Game. Either rivalry week would have to move or western expansion would have to happen to the point that New Orleans makes logistical sense.

Cousin Pat from Georgia said...

Logistical sense, yes. That is huge. Hell, I think the biggest disadvantage is the Sugar Bowl a month later (any SEC other than LSU may not appreciate two trips to the Crescent City in such short succession).

However, the SEC moved the game out of Birmingham specifically to play in a domed stadium in December. If they want to play in the open air, they'll just keep it in Atlanta's new stadium and the point is moot.

If Atlanta de-domes, New Orleans has a chance, however slight. Someone in NOLA needs to be ready with a bid, on the off chance the SEC prefers playing indoors more than they prefer logistics.

If I'm the SEC, though, I look at straight up purchasing the Georgia Dome in partnership with Chick-fil-a.

DADvocate said...

At least the Falcons are a competitive team unlike the pathetic Cincinnati Bengals whose owner, Mike Brown, stuck the taxpayers for millions and runs probably the worst professional sports franchise in history. He manages to make plenty though.

Cousin Pat from Georgia said...

Sounds about right. Though the Falcons have been competitive lately, keep in mind this is the first time in team history they've posted back-to-back-to-back winning seasons.