Arthur Blank: Hellbent on bringing one more team to Atlanta

Forbes.com Photo
Forbes.com Photo


Atlanta Falcons owner and Home Depot co-founder Arthur Blank is a rabid businessman, and he usually doesn’t stop until he gets whatever franchise he wants.

In this case, he’s set his eyes on Major League Soccer.

Blank has spoken in-depth with MLS about bringing an expansion team to Atlanta, according to a Creative Loafing report. The hope is to bring a team to the new Falcons Stadium between 2015 and 2020.

Last year, the MLS awarded new franchises to Orlando, Fla. and New York City. Both will begin play in 2015. A new team in Miami is expected to begin play in 2016, and Atlanta is still on the radar of MLS officials for an expansion team.

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“All I will say is that the talks are substantial,” Blank told Maria Saporta of the Atlanta Business Chronicle. “They have an interest in Atlanta. They love Atlanta, and we obviously know Atlanta. We are building a world-class sports facility for professional soccer. If you look at their map, there’s a huge hole in the Southeast, and Atlanta is the hub of the Southeast.”

I think this is a great international town that would openly welcome an MLS franchise, and I’d be a loyal fan. If you went to the Mexico-Nigeria friendly that was played in the Georgia Dome Wednesday night, you saw 68,000 frenzied soccer fans filling an NFL stadium to the hilt. Would an MLS team do that in Atlanta? Perhaps, but even if every game isn’t a sell-out, there would be sizable crowds for each home game.

The Atlanta Business Chronicle also reported recent transactions suggest it costs $70-100 million to bring an expansion MLS team into a city, which is chump change for the billionaire Blank. And when you consider how much money a successful team could add to his already-brimming Falcons profits, it’s a no-brainer for the entrepreneur.

Tell me, would you attend MLS games in downtown Atlanta? Leave your vote in the poll below.