ATLANTA -- There's plenty of talk about what it would take to build a new stadium for the Atlanta Falcons. But it seems no one wants to talk about what would happen if the parties involved failed to reach a deal.
Right now, the new stadium would cost more than a billion dollars, a third of it taxpayer money, courtesy the city and county's hotel-motel tax. That means visitors, not residents would foot the bill. Still, Gov. Nathan Deal told Atlanta's WXIA on Thursday, he's not sold on the idea.
"There's a lot to be said for the fact we have a very good dome. I think there's got to be a little further explanation to the public and probably the members of the Georgia Assembly to explain the necessity of changing that and going to a new stadium," said the governor.
Los Angeles recently announced its plans to build a new one billion dollar stadium in hopes of luring an NFL team back to the city. If that happens, the NFL has two choices: either expand its number of teams, something a spokesman told WXIA it has no plans of doing, or move an existing team.
That's why Atlanta Business Chronicle is posing the question: if Atlanta's stadium deal falls through, could the Falcons fly to a stadium ready and waiting in LA?
"Our current deal with the team says they have to play in the Georgia Dome until 2020 or until the debt on the Dome is retired, which is currently right at $100 million," said Jennifer LeMaster, a spokesperson for the World Congress Center which leases the Dome to the Falcons.
That means the Falcons could "buy out" their interest and move if they wanted to. But the Chief of Staff for AMB Group, LLC, the parent company of the Atlanta Falcons, says that's never been part of their discussion.
In a statement to WXIA on the issue, Kim Shreckengost said, "Atlanta has been the home of the Falcons since 1966, and we are committed to this community in a wide variety of ways. We have stated our preference and goals to remain downtown and continue our partnership with the Georgia World Congress Center Authority. Both sides are committed to reaching an agreement that will achieve these goals."