Regular readers know I enjoy a good game of football, especially if the home team is wearing red and black. I’ve been fortunate enough to attend every UGA home game this season, as well as all but one Falcons home game including their pre-season scrimages.
The Falcons, as we know, have grown tired of the Georgia Dome, and courtesy of an extension of the Hotel Motel tax, are looking forward to spending $400 Million of taxpayer funds to build a new stadium so we can land one additional Super Bowl. That, and so the team can expand local revenues from the sale of luxury suites and concessions, which would, not so coincidentally, directly increase the value of the Falcons franchise.
I’m fairly certain we’ve already lost the big picture battle over the stadium. After all, when you look at the infrastructure needs of Atlanta, clearly the highest and best use of $400 Million in taxpayer dollars is not expanded transit options, the beltline, increased downtown security, or funding programs for homeless to transition them out of the convention district. One additional Super Bowl over the next 20 years trumps all that.
The battle I have not yet ceded is that over the cash register at the concession stand outside section 308. Since the pre-season games, the card reader system at this location continues to fail, causing the lines to become “cash only” at a moments notice. This has happened to me three times this season, and the stand was cash only at the beginning of the game yesterday.
I asked the young lady manning the register what the issue was, and she said they have requested it be fixed after every game, but to no avail, and the sporatic issues continue. She was clearly as frustrated as the regular fans who have experienced this.
I can’t help but to think that if the Falcons are seeking to maximize their revenue, they should first make sure they are maximizing the current potential revenue. Turning customers away, even those of us in the cheap seats, neither puts money in their pockets nor helps with the overall fan experience.
If you’re going to take $400 Million away from other infrastructure projects so that we can have a stadium within walking distance of the current one, please at least make sure you’re prepared to take my money for a $7 beer so I can try not to think about it while watching a game.