Courtesy Atlanta Falcons
As Mayor Kasim Reed explained during a Monday press conference in answer to one of the few non-airport-related questions, “The way it typically works is, you build a brand-new stadium and they give you the Super Bowl.”
Ka-ching! As predicted, during today’s meeting of NFL owners, the posse of plutocrats voted to send Super Bowl LIII to the Mercedes-Benz Stadium in 2019. And no one could be happier than Falcons owner Arthur Blank, whose team is spending $1 billion and change to replace the two-decade-old Georgia Dome.
“It’s a wonderful day for our city and franchise and I know the people of Atlanta and all of Georgia will deliver a spectacular Super Bowl celebration in 2019,” said Blank in a quote from the NFL’s press release. “Mercedes-Benz Stadium will be an outstanding venue for the game and with all of the attractions and hotel rooms within a mile of the stadium this is going to be the most walkable Super Bowl ever. Atlanta has truly transformed since it last hosted the Super Bowl in 2000 and I’m grateful to the NFL and team owners for this very special opportunity.”
Also according to the release: “The Atlanta Bid Committee, which was led by the Atlanta Sports Council, Atlanta Falcons, Atlanta Convention & Visitors Bureau and the Georgia World Congress Center Authority, submitted the final bid on April 15.” I’m sure they made a compelling case, but here’s guessing that the mayor was right: If you build a shiny new stadium with all the requested bells and whistles, you’re pretty much guaranteed an upcoming Super Bowl.
This will be Atlanta’s third go-around as Super Bowl host. The first was in 1994, two years after the Georgia Dome opened, and the second followed a mere six seasons later. And although the 2000 face-off between the then-St. Louis Rams and the Tennessee Titans was quickly crowned one of the best in the history of the event, a freak ice storm that shut down much of the city in the week before the game was largely blamed for Atlanta getting overlooked in subsequent years. (A certain double homicide on Super Bowl eve also helped put a damper on things.)
If you don’t have the connections to score a ticket to the big game three years from now, you can still enjoy the trickle-down. The potential economic impact to Atlanta is estimated at between $125 million (by the Falcons) and an extra-rosy $400 million (by the Metro Atlanta Chamber). In the short term, however, getting the Super Bowl could help push forward plans for a new luxury hotel next door at the Georgia World Congress Center.