As you have probably heard, Jon Bon Jovi wants to buy a minority stake in the Falcons. As you’ve also probably heard, Arthur Blank is seeking a new stadium for the team sometime this decade. As Yahoo’s Rick Limpert writes, the two developments are linked. With the influx of cash (an estimated $150 million to be specific) from Bon Jovi’s investment, the team would be more equipped to build itself a new home.
While everybody is mum right now on the possibility of Bon Jovi buying a stake in the Falcons, if he does, that is the “go” signal that there is a new stadium in the works.
There’s nothing else in the article that we don’t already know, besides the revelation that the author has a shaky grasp of suburban Atlanta geography. (Minor quibble, sure, but since when was Doraville northwest of the city?) Arthur Blank wants an open-air stadium — or maybe even a retractable roof, because you know, everyone else is doing it! — and while he says he would prefer to keep the team downtown, he is willing to move to the ‘burbs if need be.
That’s all well and good, an open-air stadium would be nice, but what the hell is wrong with the Dome? It’s not even 20 years old, and is three years removed from $30 million worth of renovations (which, to be fair, the team paid for with its own money). Atlanta doesn’t need a new football stadium, and it’s preposterous that the NFL and the Falcons are attempting to fool its citizens into thinking it does.
In November, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell said that the the city will need to build a new stadium before it can again be considered as a viable host city for the Super Bowl. To which I say, Mr. Goodell can go fuck himself.
As can Mr. Blank too, if he A. expects taxpayers to foot the bill for a new stadium just 20 years after the state-funded construction of the Dome; or B. plans on leaving the city proper for a suburban location. As long as he pays for it himself and doesn’t leave Atlanta, I can’t really object if he wants a shiny new home for his team.
But what I do object to, is league commissioner (and noted scumbag) Roger Goodell’s role in this. Here’s my favorite quote from Goodell about the issue:
“The bar has been raised because you’re getting great facilities around the country in great communities. These games are a tremendous value to the communities, so there’s a lot of competition for it. So I think a new stadium with this great community would be beneficial to bringing another Super Bowl to this community.”
Notice how he manages to shoe horn “community” into every sentence? As if that softens the blow of two rich men attempting to strong-arm a city into spending millions of dollars on something they want rather than on what the city might actually need.
On behalf of the community, Mr. Goodell, we’ve got bigger fish to fry. We don’t need your advice, and we damn sure don’t need your transparent attempts at blackmail.
I know that it’s inevitable that the city will eventually cave to Mr. Blank’s wishes and build the Falcons a new home. I just hope that when it does, it’s not because the douchiest commissioner in all of sports says so. I also hope that the team remains within the city, and not in some no-name suburb which online journalists can’t even find on a map.