ATLANTA - The main details of the new Falcons stadium deal have been well publicized. $200 million being paid by the city of Atlanta using the hotel/motel tax. The team's share of the cost totals $800 million.
But, if you look deeper into the agreement you'll find a lot of items that make the deal, in the words of one local expert, "one of the best deals for a city that we've seen in modern sports history."
Dr. Bruce Seaman is an economics professor at Georgia State University. He's studied this agreement, comparing it to other deals worked out by NFL teams, and those that did not involve football stadiums.
To Seaman, the Falcons agreement is a no-brainer.
"There is no increase in taxes," he tells WSB, "and certainly now, with the Falcons throwing in more money for the community development and some of the infrastructure upgrades, that is certainly the case."
Seaman says those add-ons in the deal make it a great agreement for the city.
"The ultimate deal, as it was negotiated, includes a lot more contributions by the Falcons that is customary in these situations," he says.
In addition to the $800 million for the actual stadium, the Falcons are putting up $50 million for infrastructure upgrades, including road improvements. The team is also contributing $15 million for quality of life upgrades to the neighborhoods of Vine City, English Avenue and Castleberry Hill, all of which are adjacent to the probable stadium site.
Seaman says, all this funding from the Falcons goes against the tactics used by other NFL teams when they've asked for, or demanded, a new stadium.
Most have threatened to move far away to another city. But not the Falcons.
"The Falcons never played the kind of games that other sports teams have played in the past." he says. "They never seriously considered moving out of the metro area. And (team owner) Arthur Blank quickly disavowed any desire to move to the suburbs.
"Mr. Blank could have played hardball with the city," says Seaman, "but he did not."
Seaman has looked at similar deals in the NFL.
For retractable roof stadiums, the deal between Atlanta and the Falcons requires much less public funding.
In Dallas, the new Cowboys Stadium involved 37 percent public funds. The Cardinals retractable roof stadium in Glendale, Arizona was built with 61 percent public money. Lucas Oil Field, in downtown Indianapolis, was constructed using 87 percent public funds.
The new Falcons stadium will be financed with 20 percent public money. And the Falcons will pick up the tab for road improvements that were needed regardless of a new stadium.
"I think the city of Atlanta is a winner in this," says Seaman. "I think it's one of the better deals we have ever seen for a stadium in modern sports history."