THE STADIUM EXPERIENCE
The Need for a New Stadium
The Georgia World Congress Center Authority and Atlanta Falcons worked toward an agreement for a new retractable roof stadium to be built on the Georgia World Congress Center campus. Scheduled to open for the 2017 NFL season, the new stadium will serve as the home of the Atlanta Falcons in addition to other sports, convention and entertainment events currently held at the Georgia Dome and other new marquee events that could be hosted in the future.
The new stadium groundbreaking ceremony took place on May 19, 2014.
Since their first season in 1966, the Atlanta Falcons have called Downtown Atlanta home. After spending their first 26 seasons at Atlanta-Fulton County Stadium, the Falcons moved to the Georgia Dome in 1992. The Falcons’ lease at the Georgia Dome expires in 2020 or when the bonds that financed the Dome’s construction are paid off. This is estimated to occur in 2017. By this time, the Dome will be 25 years old, which is about the average age of retirement of other NFL domed stadiums.
The Authority and Falcons have created a long-term solution for the region, state and Falcons by agreeing to a new stadium on the Georgia World Congress Center campus. The new facility will allow the Falcons to provide a league-competitive game day experience for fans and ensure the city and state are able to retain major events currently held at the Georgia Dome as well as attract new marquee events to the region.
The Authority considered the possibility of a major renovation of the Georgia Dome as part of the evaluation process. A study they commissioned estimated that renovation costs to bring the Dome to current NFL standards and to continue to meet the needs of the Georgia World Congress Center would be nearly $900 million. Therefore, it was determined that a new building would be constructed on Authority property.
Importance of a New Stadium to the Falcons
A new stadium will ensure a league-competitive game day experience for Falcons fans, and it will help the team remain competitive on the field for a long period of time. In addition, a new stadium puts in place a long-term stadium solution following the end of the team’s lease at the Georgia Dome. It also allows the Authority and the Falcons to continue a successful partnership in the years to come.
Benefits of a New Stadium to Atlanta and the State of Georgia
The state of Georgia will own an asset at about 20-30% of its cost. The public funding portion of the stadium construction will come from an existing hotel-motel tax that is largely paid by visitors, not local residents. Georgia residents will not contribute to the new stadium construction unless they stay in a hotel/motel in the city of Atlanta or certain other parts of Fulton County.
There are economic development benefits as well. Over the three-year construction period, the project is estimated to add more than 1,400 full-time equivalent new jobs to Atlanta and more than 4,500 new jobs to the state’s economy. The project will generate more than $150 million and $400 million in total economic impact to the city and state, respectively, including more than $72 million and $160 million in personal income, respectively. During the construction phase alone, the new stadium will generate a state economic impact that exceeds the amount contributed for construction from the hotel-motel tax.
A new stadium provides other economic impact opportunities from the potential to host new events and a better chance of ensuring other events currently held in the Dome remain in Atlanta. New marquee events could include a Super Bowl, World Cup and the NCAA BCS Football Playoff, which would have a combined potential to generate more than $300 million in economic impact for Atlanta and more than $450 million for the state.
A new stadium enhances the ability to retain events currently held at the Dome including the SEC Championship Game, Chick-fil-A Bowl, Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game and Bank of America Football Classic, which generate a combined annual economic impact of more than $100 million for the city and state.