Attention Arthur Blank

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.

14 comments

  1. Calypso says:

    Charlie, while you’re at it, can you ask him to talk to Smith about other options when it’s 4th and 1 on your own 29, please?

  2. GAgadfly says:

    You may want to investigate this a bit, but I think one additional reason they want a new stadium is that the Falcons don’t get (any? or enough?) of the consessions revenue from home games. So your beef regarding consessions inefficiency may not be with the Falcons but with the Georgia Dome management, who presumably runs the consessions, as they are the ones getting the revenue.

    • Charlie says:

      So, instead of rewriting a lease on an exisiting building with more favorable terms for the Falcons, the solution is to spend $400 Million of taxpayer’s money on a new stadium?

      And I’m pretty sure the Falcons can get a cash register fixed if they ask.

  3. Baker says:

    Building a new stadium is outrageous and everyone knows it. Who in the big Atlanta media has the guts to hammer it home to the broader public and in Mr. Blank’s face? Take that hotel tax and put it towards the transit which very likely might not get the TSPLOST funding.

    There is a world of literature on the economics of new stadiums and even the economics of Super Bowls, without getting to deep into it, let’s just say it ain’t worth it.

  4. saltycracker says:

    Agree with Baker about lots of info on the bad economics pushing stadiums.
    Aren’t the Occupy folks riled about public money for private gain? let’s move them to the GWCC.

  5. rsmith says:

    Blank has been a disappointment compared to Marcus as a post cash-in-your-chips Atlantan. This is merely the latest in his narcissistic actions. If he wants a new stadium, let him build one out of pocket. I’m waiting for him to do something that even bares a passing resemblance to Marcus’ contributions. I am a 30 year season ticket holder but I’d rather see them leave Atlanta than spend $400M of taxpayers’ money on a new stadium.

      • benevolus says:

        I protested him once. He was hosting a fundraiser at his house and GWB was coming. They kept us 200 yards away from the nearest intersection to that house.
        Wasn’t as bad as the time Cheney came to Galleria though. They actually parked buses between the protesters and the motorcade so the chickensh*t couldn’t even see us.

  6. We are going through this on smaller scale in Augusta. Cal Ripken owns the local minor league team, and wants a stadium built two miles from the other one that was built 15 years ago. Going to cost us $50 mil or so, and the want to build it on top of another failure, the Golf hall of fame. So, Augusta couldnt make golf work, so we try baseball. Idiots.

  7. “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”

    You should start paying them in dollar coins.

    • Ken says:

      Or in $2 bills.

      There’s a story that years ago the city management of Jacksonville began blaming all of its local problems on the naval base there – until the naval base began paying its employees in $2 bills. Not only did it cause a huge problem for retailers (no $2 slot in the cash registers), it also emphasized how much money the sailors were spending. The problem was shortly resolved when retailers put heat on the city.

      So maybe fans should load up on $2 bills to pay for concessions.

      • Yep, I only suggested the dollar coins because I’d rather the gov get rid of the paper $1 bills like Canada has done. The $1 coin lasts much longer than a $1 paper bill and it seems like I’d read somewhere that they’re also cheaper to make. Either way, it would save at least a little bit of money by making the switch.

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