Celebrating 75: A look at one of Atlanta’s most influential people, Arthur Blank

ATLANTA — As we look back on our 75 years on the air here at WSB-TV, one of the biggest people to influence the Atlanta community has been businessman, philanthropist, and sports team owner Arthur Blank.

It was 2002 when Blank went from a philanthropic corporate force to a genuine force overall in the city of Atlanta.

That’s when Blank bought the Atlanta Falcons for $545 million dollars, and nearly overnight, everyone knew just who he was.

“And I think we can bring the same kind of success to the Falcons that we’ve had in other areas, and the organization is excited, I’m excited. There’s lots of opportunities in terms of the field, the players. Lots of opportunities in terms of creating a better game day experience,” Blank said at the time.

He amassed the kind of wealth to buy the Falcons and then build Atlanta United FC by founding the Home Depot with Bernie Marcus.

Originally New Yorkers, Blank and Marcus set up Home Depot’s headquarters in Atlanta and turned it into the world’s largest home improvement retailer.

Channel 2′s Fred Blankenship spoke to Marcus about those early days.

“I just said there’s a store that’s going to put all of the small stores out of business because it was a creation of my mind, my imagination and it was the Home Depot.,” Marcus said.

WSB-TV Celebrates 75 Years:

Blank served as CEO or chairman until 2001.

Blank also hasn’t minded the spotlight from time to time, especially doing a little jig in the locker room or cheering on his Atlanta Falcons during the Super Bowl season of 2016.

But what he’s less known for is his charitable giving through his family foundation. He’s donated millions of dollars supporting everything from the arts and education to healthcare.

In fact, you’ll see Blank’s name on the New Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta tower northeast of town on Interstate 85.

Among his legacies, Blank says he’s proud of downtown’s Mercedes-Benz Stadium, which opened in 2017 and is home of the Falcons and Atlanta United.

“Everybody’s that’s been part of this design, construction, support, all of our staff, everybody else’s staffs who worked on this, our fans have been beyond incredible in their support of the building,” Blank said.

At age 80 now, Blank has also stayed plugged in as a businessman, serving on the Business Council of Foreign Relations and as a member of the World Economic Forum.