Just imagine if a new stadium would have been approved for the San Diego Chargers …
And they went to the Super Bowl … (OK, we know we’re asking a lot but please follow us here.)
And led by 28 to 3 in the third quarter …
And then blew it …
How would we feel then about forking over a ton a dough for a new stadium? Well, that’s what the good people of Atlanta are going through. There, a new stadium is being built for the Falcons, with as much as $700 million in public money being spent on it.
Too late for a refund?
Yes, San Diego lost the Chargers to Los Angeles. However, Atlanta gets to keep the Falcons, which, like the Chargers, have never won a Super Bowl. As the world knows, they lost in overtime to the New England Patriots, 34 – 28, one of the most epic sports’ collapses of all time.
But construction on the new stadium goes on. Indeed, the team reported that interest in personal seat licenses — that's what you buy just to buy season tickets — has spiked since the Super Bowl meltdown.
Perhaps those fans missed the game?
The stadium, already dubbed Mercedes-Benz Stadium, will cost $1.6 billion in all, about double the original estimate. Much of the public money is coming from a hotel-motel tax, which is how the Chargers wanted to raise money for the proposed stadium downtown.
The Falcons played last season in the Georgia Dome, which is only 25 years old. Many readers remarking on a Yahoo.com story about the last game being played there, we’re kind of amazed it’s being replaced:
“A billion dollars can support a lot of needy people for a sustainable amount of time. Instead we tear down a functional 25-year-old stadium and build another one?”
“Perhaps they should just get a new stadium every year.”
“Can the Chargers play there?”
There was one big difference between Atlanta and San Diego’s stadium drives, though. Atlanta did not do a public vote. Atlanta’s City Council approved the deal by an 11-4 vote. Though the city agreed to spend only $200 million on construction, that amount has ballooned to $700 as costs rose. According to the Atlanta Journal Constitution, the amount of public money being spent on the stadium could rise to $900 million over the next three decades.
In San Diego’s case, voters had a say on the Chargers plan, which called for as much as $1 billion in public money. The initiative got only 43 percent of the vote.
And what do Falcons fans get for their city’s investment?
From the Guardian: “At last, the Atlanta Falcons have an identity: they’re the team that blew it.”
From CBS Sports: “The Falcons’ Super Bowl collapse is one of the biggest choke jobs in sports history.”
From USA Today: “Falcons know the truth: No way to get over Super Bowl LI collapse.”
The Mercedez-Benz stadium will open for play next season. Um, rise up.