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Stephanie Blank has a secret. No, not that. Even TMZ has reported on the ridiculously civilized parting of the ways between the veteran Atlanta charitable fundraiser and her husband of 16 years, Home Depot co-founder and Atlanta Falcons owner Arthur Blank. We’re talking about a real secret here.
It is official: the $35 million design contract for the new Falcons stadium has been awarded to 360 Architecture of Kansas City, and from the design ideas already floated, it looks like Arthur Blank and the team will be getting a statement building alright. Just what will be stated is debatable.
Yet to those who root for pro sports (and, I hope, those who play them) the night felt unmistakably like a consolation prize. We were told repeatedly how lucky we are to be here in this world-class sports town. We were reminded that the New York media was against us. We were so showered with love and self-serving praise that you almost expected, say, a Boston sports fan to leave behind his seven titles in the last twelve years so he could come down and buy season tickets to half-empty Turner Field.
Forbes magazine’s much-anticipated 2013 Swimsuit Issue list of the world’s billionaires was published yesterday. Mexican telecommunications giant and all-around biz whiz Carlos Slim tops the roster with an estimated $73 billion fortune. Like my dad always said, “You’ll know you’ve made it when your next $100,000,000 goes to the right of the decimal point.”
Arthur Blank turned sixty-five last September, in the middle of the worst year of his professional life. Just weeks before, Michael Vick, the marquee Falcons quarterback around whom Blank had built the team, had pleaded guilty to running a dog-fighting ring out of his home in Virginia.