Falcons fans not thrilled about possible seat licenses


Tom Dunn shows Channel 2's John Bachman his Fanbulance tailgating experience.

ATLANTA - Atlanta Falcons fans who pay thousands of dollars a year for season tickets may have to shell out thousands of dollars more just for the right to buy tickets if one potential scenario plays out in the construction of a new stadium.

Channel 2 Action News has learned seat licenses are on the table as an option to help pay for a new stadium. The facility, which would replace the Georgia Dome, has an estimated cost of $1.2 billion.

Tom Dunn and his family have attended Falcons games for 34 years. Dunn created a tailgating experience known as the "Fanbulance," and the remolded ambulance is well known among other season ticket holders.

"It’s certainly hardcore to put it mildly.  Insane is probably a better term," is how Dunn said of his love of Atlanta’s football team to Channel 2’s John Bachman.

Dunn holds eight tickets on the 50 yard line at the Georgia Dome, and he’s remained in a prime location despite several price increases.

"Our seats at the dome in 2002 were $37.  This year they're $160," Dunn said.

It could all end in a few years if the Falcons move forward with personal seat licenses, according to Dunn.

The latest documents in the negotiations between the Falcons and the Georgia World Congress Center show personal seat licenses could be used to partially fund the project.

It is estimated taxpayers would have to foot the bill for 30 percent of the stadium, including money from Atlanta’s 8 percent hotel tax, state money used to purchase land, and a construction sales tax rebate.

Seat licenses are a one-time fee that fans pay for the right to buy football season tickets or tickets to any other public event in the building. The license for one seat can cost tens of thousands of dollars and it can be sold to another person.

There are at least 15 National Football League teams with PSL including New York where two seat licenses were sold for every seat – one to Giants fans and one to Jets fans.

The cost of seat licenses at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh increased an average 736 percent between 2001 and 2011, according to an article by the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

It’s a pretty good deal for some fans if you consider a license bought in 2001 at $250 can now be sold for $4,306. A lower-midfield seat license purchased at $2,700 when the stadium opened is now selling for an average of $17,131. 

A Georgia World Congress Center spokeswoman told Bachman that a decision on PSLs will be up the Falcons organization. The details do not need to be worked out before the end of the year.

For Dunn, it would end his three decade love affair with the Falcons.

"If it's huge, just a straight seat license, that will probably be it for me. At some point you just have to say that's enough," Dunn said.