Atlanta Football Fans Will Have to Pay Part of the Bill for New Stadium

falcons fans tailgate at georgia dome

A new downtown stadium that will be the home of the Atlanta Falcons will be paid for in part by fans if the current deal is approved.

Falcons owner Arthur Blank confirmed Monday that the team plans to sell personal seat licenses (PSLs) in the planned new arena that will replace the Georgia Dome. That revenue would go toward the cost of building the stadium.

“There will be some component of PSLs,” Blank said in an interview at his Buckhead office shortly after the Georgia World Congress Center Authority board approved a nonbinding agreement on the framework of a stadium deal.

“We’re going to try to keep that to the lowest possible number we can that’s feasible. It will not be in the range of some of the newer stadiums that you have heard and read about.”

PSLs are programs where fans are asked to pay one-time fees for the right to buy season tickets in a specific seat for the life of the building or a defined number of years afterward.

Some of the recent PSL programs fans may have heard about were those built for the New York Giants’ and Jets’ new stadium where seat licenses were priced from $1,000 to $25,000. The Dallas Cowboys PSLs ranged from $2,000 to $150,000 and the San Francisco 49ers reportedly are getting as much as $80,000 for seat licenses in the stadium they are building in Santa Clara, Calif.

Yesterday it was reported that the Georgia World Congress Center Authority board had approved a deal that would bring a new stadium to downtown Atlanta to replace the Georgia Dome. The plan is to build a retractable-roof stadium, with a price tag expected to be around $1 billion, on the GWCCA campus that will be the new home of the Falcons starting in the 2017 NFL season.

According to the AJC, key business terms approved by the board include:

The GWCCA, a state agency, would own the stadium.
The Falcons would operate the stadium under a 30-year license agreement, with options to renew for an additional 15 years.

A portion of the construction cost would be funded by revenue from the hotel-motel tax in the city of Atlanta and Fulton County; that portion has been estimated at around $300 million. The rest, including any cost overruns, would be the Falcons’ responsibility, although that could be offset by the sale of personal seat licenses.

The Falcons would pay annual rent of $2.5 million, increasing 2 percent per year, to the GWCCA.

The Falcons would be responsible for all of the stadium’s operating expenses and would retain all revenue.

The Georgia Dome would be demolished, and many events held there would move to the new stadium.

The new stadium would be built on the GWCCA campus, with the final selection from two sites – one just south of the Dome and the other a half-mile north of the Dome – deferred until the negotiation of a more definitive memorandum of understanding early next year.

The deal was approved unanimously by the GWCCA board and as of now it is only an agreement for revenue. The project still has a number of hurdles to overcome before any ground can be broken for a new stadium.


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