Falcons CEO: We'll be playing in a new stadium in 2017

by: Richard Elliot Updated:

The Georgia Dome is shown along Georgia Dome Drive on December 10, 2012. The GWCCA Board of Governors met today and approved the final draft of the non-binding business terms for a proposed new stadium.

ATLANTA - Atlanta Falcons CEO Rich McKay warned Atlanta City Council members that when the team's lease with the Georgia Dome is up in 2017, they'll be playing in a new stadium, downtown or at some other location in metro Atlanta.

This comes as Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed's office detailed his plan to fund construction of a proposed $1 billion retractable roof stadium to members of the city council's finance committee. 

Reed wants to use the hotel-motel tax to back bonds used to fund 20 percent of the construction costs. The Falcons would pick up the rest.  However, the city council will have to vote to authorize the mayor to use the tax in that way.

Atlanta Chief Operating Officer Duriya Farooqui told council members that compared to stadium construction deals in other cities, Atlanta is getting a relatively good deal. 

She said 87 percent of Indianapolis's stadium, 68 percent of Arizona's and 37 percent of Dallas' stadium came through public funding.

"A new stadium today is proposed at 20 percent public contribution," said Farooqui.  "With no new taxes, no increase in taxes."

Invest Atlanta's Brian McGowan came at council members from a different angle, saying that the city could lose major events, even the Falcons, if it didn't build a new facility.

"We have events that have choices, that don't need to be in Atlanta," said McGowan.  "The SEC Championship, the Chick-Fil-A Bowl, the Bank of America Football Classic. We believe a new stadium will help retain those events into the future.  And I'll add this: If I was the economic guy for Los Angeles, I would be actively pursuing the Falcons to move to LA."

The City Council will vote on the funding plan at a later date.

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