If the Falcons Want to Leave, Let Them

News reports this AM are saying that Arthur Blank has been approached by business interests in Los Angeles to move the Falcons to L.A.  This is clearly a move to help get the City of Atlanta to fund a new stadium. 

Jokingly, I said after the Falcons lost to the 49ers that after UGA lost in similar fashion that they should burn the place down.  But seriously, the City of Atlanta needs another stadium, much less a $1B stadium, like I need another holoe in my head.  This whole thing is stupid.  The lack of a stadium is not keeping fans away.  What keeps fans away is a bad prdocut on the field.  Atlanta ranked 11th in 2012 in fan attendance.  But, the difference between 11th and 6th is about 3,000 fans a game.  Not that much.  Atlanta Falcons fans came to the Georgia Dome to see the Dirty Birds at a rate more than fans in Pittsburgh,  New England, Chicago, Indianapolis, and Seattle.

The average attendance for Falcons’ games this season was 70,096.  However, the seating capacity for the Georgia Dome is 71,228.  The Dome was 98% full this season.  It doesn’t matter what the stadium looks like, or where it is at; fans will come as long as the product is good.

There is something that could shoot holes in my argument, though.  Let’s look at the lean years for the Falcons since Mr. Blank took over.  Let’s look at 2007.  The Falcons averaged 68,395 per home game.  This was good for 15th in the NFL…about middle of the pack.  So you are playing in, by your own admission, a crappy stadium (if it is crappy in 2011 and 2012 it was crappy in 2007).  And the team is playing like crap.  You are missing your star player in Michael Vick.  Yet fans still came to the games. 

The state of Georgia is great.  We have many opportunities for us that other states in the southeast would kill for.  But our great state has signifigant challenges, and shouldn’t have to subsidize billionares who want a new stadium at the expense of taxpayers.  If adding a new stadium would create exponentially new jobs or bring in new revenues, then maybe.  But just becuase Arthur Blank wants one?  When our state can hardly pay the light bills, much less fund other special projects across the state that are worthwhile, how can anyone think giving the Falcons a new stadium is a good idea?

If Arthur Blank is going to play chicken with us, I say to hell with him and his franchise.  If the Falcons want to leave, Delta sells one way tickets to LAX. 


Attendance figures from here

11 Responses to “If the Falcons Want to Leave, Let Them”

  1. 1 Bright Idea January 29, 2013 at 10:50 am

    Only a fool would relocate a business to California. That is a bluff unless the NFL pushes the move.

  2. 2 Greg January 29, 2013 at 11:07 am

    The Georgia Dome, which opened in 1992, is so dilapidated that it is hosting the Final 4 in a few months….and the SuperDome, which opened in 1975, is hosting the Super Bowl this week.

    It would be a real class move by Blank to move them now that the franchise is finally winning with some consistency after they sucked for the better part of 3+ decades. Up until 2002, the Falcons had made the playoffs in 6 of their 32 seasons in Atlanta.

    People around the country talk about how apathetic Atlantan’s are toward their professional sports teams…as if there is no reason for this. The Braves have won one World Series, the Falcons have only been to one Super Bowl and two conference championship games and the Hawks have never even been to the conference finals. That’s an awful lot of mediocrity or worse for fans to keep throwing their hard-earned money at a team. And now Arthur Blank wants to force this stadium down our throats despite what’s going on in this economy.

    I agree. Take your ball and go to LA. The memories(mostly bad) will be forgotten quickly.

  3. 5 Cousin Eddie January 29, 2013 at 12:35 pm

    Rumor is Blank can get materials below cost so let him build the thing. Jerry Jones threw in a chunk of money for the Cowboys Stadium and borrowed some from the NFL to get it done. Tell Blank to build it or hit the road and carry those dang orange colored stores with him. (nothing wrong with the stores but couldn’t he picked a better color say chicken squat green).

  4. 6 Whiskeydawg January 29, 2013 at 12:45 pm

    I grew up in Athens, went to UGA and a Falcons fan. I also live in Los Angeles. L.A. has its own issues with an NFL team. The number one issue, where would they play? There is bitter opposition no matter where you want to put a stadium; be it downtown, refurbishing the Coliseum, up in Pasadena, down in Wilmington or out in Santa Fe Springs. Then there is the cost and how much the public has to chip in. Out here, that number needs to be zero and that isn’t likely. California, L.A., like most many other places in the country has been weathering this economic storm. In the last 6 months California and L.A. County has started to recover and even project a financial surplus in the next couple of years. No one is in the mood to put up a lot of public funds when the existing roads and schools here suck.
    The other biggest obstacle is that many people who live in Los Angeles are like me, not from here. I used to go to the Rams games when they played Atlanta; other than that, you couldn’t drag me to a Rams game. Most people who grew up in Los Angeles like the Raiders and would only favor their return. Even the Chargers are not wanted here by the native base unless you count Orange County to the South. I don’t see the Falcons or any other team heading to L.A. now or in the near future.

  5. 7 Nahila January 29, 2013 at 2:04 pm

    I do not believe the Falcons need a new stadium, reverbish the present stadium when and if it needs it. Take those bed tax dollars and build something that can create permanent jobs for Atlanta residents not temporary construction jobs.

  6. 8 DawgByte January 29, 2013 at 3:02 pm

    Count me as one in favor of a new stadium. If the Falcons do move to Los Angeles I hope they have the decency to change their name.

  7. 9 alabamadawg January 29, 2013 at 8:40 pm

    I agree 100% !! If Blank wants to leave, then good bye !! The city nor the state should pay for another stadium, the Georgia Dome is a great place to play !!

  8. 10 Tyler Dawgden January 30, 2013 at 9:37 am

    I’ve long said that when Rankin Smith threatened to move the team to Jacksonville in the 80s, the state should have told him to go South on 75 to Lake City, then hang a left. However, having a top notch domed stadium has been a business and publicity windfall for the city and state.

    Without the Georgia Dome, the SEC Championship game would likely still be played at Legion Field or at the Superdome. The Final Four would never be hosted in Atlanta. The Superbowl would never have come to Atlanta (although it probably won’t again due to a once in 20 year ice storm; I hope it snows 15 feet when the game is at the Meadowlands).

    I’ve come to appreciate that having a pro team (even one that I don’t get too excited about) comes with having a world class stadium as a tenant. That being said, a new stadium isn’t going to fix Mr. Blank’s concerns any more than fixing the Georgia Dome will. Renegotiating the contract so Mr. Blank gets a bigger piece of the pie will. Unless both parties can see a way to make the pie bigger at the expense of the taxpayers, which is actually what is going on.

    Besides, there is a team in a River City that has far less fan support and a new owner that isn’t invested in the community that his team plays in. That is the franchise that is most likely to move, if you ask me.

    • 11 Corbindawg January 30, 2013 at 10:11 am

      I agree, Tyler, that Jacksonville is very likely to move. And when that happens, what will happen to the Cocktail Party? I doubt the city of Jacksonville will keep up a stadium for just one or two big games a year.

      The GA Dome is a top notch facility as is and it hasn’t prevented ATL from hosting great events, like the Superbowl (2xs), the Final Four, SEC Championship games, and of course, Wrestlemania.

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