The Case Needed For A New Falcons Stadium

Nov 28, 2012

If the Atlanta Falcons want a new stadium, Governor Nathan Deal says the team will have to sell the idea to state lawmakers and Georgians as a whole. Deal’s comments come as talks continue between the Falcons and the Georgia World Congress Center Authority.

After speaking to the Metro Atlanta Chamber of Commerce Wednesday, Governor Nathan Deal took questions from reporters about stadium negotiations among other topics
Credit Charles Edwards / WABE News

Up to $350 million to build a new stadium would come from a tax people pay when they stay in Metro Atlanta hotels and motels.

But before the Falcons get that money, Governor Deal says the state legislature would have to basically raise the limit on the Georgia World Congress Center’s credit card by up to $300 million.

“I think anytime that you’re asking for a major change, you have to convince the broader population base of the need for the change that you’re requesting,” said Deal.

That means the Falcons have to lobby state lawmakers and their constituents hard. And Deal thinks the Falcons have a sales pitch.

“They just need to explain what the project is, the importance of the project to the future of the Falcons here and our city,” said Deal.

Governor Deal says the math sounds good.

If you add about $700 million from the Atlanta Falcons to about $300 million from hotel/motel tax revenue and you get just under $1 billion. That’s the new stadium’s estimated construction cost. The Governor says the math sounds good.

“If we get a new facility and meets the current demands and needs of the future, then being on the hook so to speak for less than a third that is repaid from money that comes from outsiders, I think that’s probably a pretty good deal,” said Deal.

Deal says he has not made a final decision on raising the Congress Center’s borrowing limit. But he says he’s open to the discussion.

“I want to make sure that the amount that is being asked for is realistic and achievable and it certainly has to be within the bounds of what the hotel/motel tax would actually raise,” said Deal.

Meanwhile, the Congress Center is trying to close a deal with the Falcons on a new stadium by the end of the year.