Any time you see your hometown team garnering the interest of other cities in the middle of a battle for a new stadium, it’s a little unnerving.
Case in point: This morning, I rolled out of bed … rolled over in bed … to see news on Twitter that the City of Los Angeles has expressed interest in talking to the Atlanta Falcons about moving to the West Coast. Naturally, I thought about the $5 million question for a brief second.
Could the Falcons really move to another city if owner Arthur Blank doesn’t get the new stadium he desperately craves?
It’s always possible; other franchises that were even more ingrained in their city’s fabric have packed up and left for greener pastures. But in Atlanta, it’s not going to happen, and here’s why.
Arthur Blank will get his stadium, whether it’s in downtown Atlanta or Duluth. They might be the Georgia Falcons when the foundation for a new home is laid, but they sure as heck won’t be the Los Angeles Falcons.
(Also read: Line between sports and tabloids become blurry)
This rumor came from L.A., without a doubt. L.A. is desperate to land a pro football team, and any time they see any kind of debate going on with a franchise, they jump in and try to solve it by luring the team away from their hometown. Don’t believe me? Ask Jaguars fans. Ask Vikings fans.
It always happens.
Atlanta’s not going to lose another team. Definitely not a football team. Especially a football team, just two years after they lost their hockey team.
Mayor Kasim Reed swears the Georgia Dome isn’t in great shape, despite the fans seeing a pristine establishment every time they go to a sporting event. But he wants the new stadium to be in Atlanta. He’s the Atlanta mayor, and he stands to lose a lot if the most popular franchise in the city bolts for the suburbs.
Do I hope the team stays downtown whenever they move into their new stadium? Sure.
But they’ll definitely move a few miles north or east before they move a few thousand miles west.
Bank on it.