Atlanta Falcons Need a New Stadium for the Long Term...with Limited PSLs
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The Atlanta Falcons need a new stadium and should be in the process of obtaining funds needed to not need PSLs. By getting help from both the state and the city, the Falcons are going to attempt to avoid the dreaded three-letter acronym for personal seat license.
As reported by the Atlanta Journal-Constitution's Tim Tucker, the Atlanta Falcons and the Georgia World Congress Center Association have agreed to a deal that would keep the Falcons on the GWCCA campus and leave ownership with the state.
In return, the Falcons would not only pay rent of $2.5 million per season; they would also assume the costs of operation. An existing hotel and motel tax would be used as the seed money of nearly $300 million, and the Georgia Dome would be demolished shortly after construction on the new building finished.
Mark Bradley of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution says that the Falcons don't need a new stadium. To that, I say they should have built the Georgia Dome right in the first place—as a retractable roof. It's not like the Falcons aren't picking an opportune time to do it.
As Rich McKay was quoted by Bradley as saying, “We need a new stadium for the long term, and the natural time to do that is at the end of a lease.” And he makes a perfect point. The Falcons have just five years left on their current lease. The average time it takes to have a stadium built is in the four-to-six-year range.
And this way, the Falcons would be able to possibly pull in more revenue through naming rights agreements to where the new stadium isn't just the Georgia Dome or even Atlanta-Fulton County Stadium. It'd be another revenue source that the team could use instead of throwing out PSLs.
The Atlanta Falcons have even put out a website with the information of their quest for a new stadium. It contains a ton of great information that will be helpful for many Falcons fans as the process goes along.
The New Retractable Roof Stadium Creates a Unique Venue for the Long Term
How many times has it been 70 to 80 degrees and sunny in Atlanta this fall for a game day? How great would it be to actually have an open air stadium in the beautiful GWCCA campus?
While the Georgia Dome is great for any event, it would be nice to see a stadium that would be able to handle everything from the Super Bowl and NCAA Final Four to the rodeos, monster truck rallies and even WWE pay-per-views.
By having an indoor or outdoor stadium option, it would also create another dynamic. But Atlanta with its temperate-to-warm climate and great urban scenery around the GWCCA campus should have put in a retractable roof stadium when they built the dome.
PSLs Are Great for Teams, but Fans Hate Them
There has been exploration as to whether PSLs or personal seat licenses are a good or a bad thing (h/t Pro Football Talk's Mike Florio). Personal seat licenses are essentially purchasing the right to buy season tickets for a certain seat or bank of seats.
They are great for the teams that are trying to build a stadium. Even if they have them just for the bottom bowl of a three-tiered stadium that holds 75,000 people, they can sell 25,000 personal seat licenses.
If the 25,000 seat licenses are sold at a value of just $2,000 a piece, that's $50 million to contribute toward the new stadium. If you are a fan, do you pay $2,000 for a lowest level personal seat license?
Arthur Blank has even said that there will be seat licenses. And if they limit them to just the bottom level, it will fall in line with his comments to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution's Tim Tucker:
There will be some component of PSLs. We’re going to try to keep that to the lowest possible number we can that’s feasible. It will not be in the range of some of the newer stadiums that you have heard and read about.
Would you purchase PSL's if it meant lower ticket prices?
So unfortunately, there will be PSLs as part of the plan. But reading more into it, it sounds like Blank doesn't want to push them for the whole stadium. In fact, it looks like he is trying to limit them as much as he can.
The prime sections and lower level makes the most sense, and even if 35,000 seats end up with PSLs and the average PSL is $3,000 (more as you get closer to the 50), that's still $100 million that could be raised.
So basically, PSLs for the whole stadium is just a bad idea. But if there are limited PSLs in just the lower levels and even a club section, it wouldn't hurt. The money is needed, and Arthur Blank can't raise it all himself.
How to Not Have as Many PSLs
While PSL's in bulk don't look to be the plan, the Falcons still have to find ways to build more funds for a nearly $950 million stadium (h/t NewAtlantaStadium.com's FAQ). So here's the simple, easy proposal:
Bring in a true corporate co-owner of the stadium.
Sounds pretty crazy? I'll elaborate.
The best way to build funding in a start-up company is to sell a percentage of your company to venture capitalists. These are guys would not only help you get everything set up, but also own a percentage of your business.
Why not give the exact same kind of agreement to say, Coca-Cola for naming rights?
Let's say that the GWCCA contributes the $300 million from the taxes. Let's say that PSLs raise a total of $50 million. And let's say that Arthur Blank has $500 million of the Falcons money in there. That adds up to just $850 million of the $950 million needed.
So where does the $100 million come from?
It comes from sponsorship naming rights of the stadium. How great would it be to have Coca-Cola Stadium at Arthur Blank Field?
Yes, I'm getting a little Nepotistic in the naming. But honestly, why not give a local company an opportunity for advertising while cutting PSLs or at least the pricing of PSLs in thirds?
It'd be the best plan of action for a fanbase that doesn't believe in the concept of having to buy a license to buy their tickets.
What do you think the Falcons should do for their stadium?
Would you buy a PSL if it was the only way to get a season ticket?
Scott Carasik is a Featured Columnist for Bleacher Report. He covers the Atlanta Falcons, NFL and NFL Draft. He is also the Falcons analyst at Drafttek, runs the NFL Draft Website ScarDraft.com and hosts Kvetching Draftniks Radio.
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