Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Dollars & Sense - Atlanta Falcons New Stadium

Sometimes I like to joke with people about being old.  Deep down, I know I'm not old.  But do you know what really makes me feel old?  The Atlanta Falcons have received financing for a new $1 billion stadium.  Their current stadium was built in 1992...

On Tuesday, Drew Rosen wrote about the Carolina Panthers looking for $250 million to $300 million in funds for renovations for their stadium.  They asked the city of Charlotte and the state of North Carolina for a total of $184.5 million of that $250 million total price tag.  To make matters all the more infuriating, Deadspin had acquired documents that pegged the Panthers' profit over the 2011 and 2012 seasons at almost $100 million.

The Falcons Stadium construction asked for $200 million of the $1 billion price tag to be tax payer funded.  Sure, percentage-wise it's not too high compared to the Panthers' ask, but $200 million is no small number for the currently cash-strapped government.  

(Interested in reading more about sports welfare? Check out Dave Zirin's "Bad Sports")

As if billionaire owners asking struggling cities for hundreds of millions of dollars for stadiums is not enough, just look at who exactly the owner of the Atlanta Falcons is.  

Arthur Blank.

If his name does not ring the bell of irony in this matter, I'll give you a quick lowdown.  Arthur Blank is the 70 year old billionaire owner of the Falcons.  Do you know how he made his fortune?  He made his fortune by being the - wait for it - co-founder of The Home Depot.  You know, the same orange Home Depot that preaches do it yourself.  

In the case of the Panthers, the city and state turned down their proposal.  And rightfully so.  Could threats of moving to Los Angeles be next?  Eh, maybe, only time will tell there.  The Falcons' proposal, though, was accepted.  

Although the Falcons' proposal for $200 million of their stadium to be taxpayer funded was accepted, it has not come without its public relations struggles.  According to an article published on Monday in the Atlanta Journal Constitution, groups are demanding a public vote on whether or not the city of Atlanta should be throwing so much taxpayer money towards the project.

I commend Charlotte and the state of North Carolina for holding their ground against the Panthers.  I also hope that the people of Atlanta vote against their money being used.  In a time where the rich are getting richer and the poor are getting poorer, sports welfare has no place.  It's time for these billionaire owners to do it themselves.

Follow Kevin Rossi on Twitter @kevin_rossi.

1 comment:

  1. Great Stuff. I'm not a huge reader but Zirin's book was awesome. This is a real problem in sports.