When do new stadiums become old hat?

Another era of sports-venue grandiosity takes wing Saturday. (Curtis Compton/ccompton@ajc.com)

Do you know what you call it when a $1.5 billion stadium has its competitive unveiling in Atlanta?

A Saturday.

Yep, just another athletic open house in Atlanta, where they christen new stadiums like other cities open new farmers markets.

One day it’s The Trust opening just across the Cobb County line. The next it’s The Benz back in the belly of the city. Soon enough, Hawks World will reveal itself, a grand live-work-watch-the-local-NBA-team-rebuild-again development that will spellbind us for another 10 minutes.

Then repeat. Hey, once you get hooked on the euphoria of these grand openings, you just can’t stop. You start jonesing for that next personal seat license.

Almost forgot the completely redone Olympic/baseball stadium in which Georgia State will open its football season next Thursday night. That is another very legitimate adventure in construction. We all live in an HGTV Sports Dream Home special, running in a continual loop.

Is it possible that there is such a thing as new stadium fatigue?

Can there be so many of these big blowout occasions that the sense of wonder gets watered down like a Happy Hour spritzer?

Hope that’s not the case. I don’t want to be that jaded old soul who is convinced he has seen it all, and has wearied of celebrating the latest sporting palace taxpayers have helped construct for massively successful private enterprises.

That’s especially so in the case of Saturday’s Falcons exhibition game at the latest new thing. Just driving by the Benz – by far the more affordable view – should instill enough sense of awe that you  simply have to stop in the middle of Northside Drive to gawk and create some sort of chain-reaction fender bender.

It dwarfs the Georgia Dome. Makes it look like a relative toadstool. The Benz has made the Dome its outhouse, until implosion day.

And put aside for the moment that the non-retractable retractable roof has become a temporary one-finger salute to man’s hubris, reminding us that there are some designs – like, say, the opening of a rose bud – better left to nature.

Still, I wonder if a stadium can be covered under Georgia’s Lemon Law? If the roof thing never does work right, can they just turn in this building for a new one?

In a way, the Falcons kind of messed up the impact of their new place. One of the real benefits of a flashy new building is to distract the viewer from the human horrors on the floor (see the 28-54 Hawks in the first year of Philips Arena or the 6-10 Falcons at the opening of the Georgia Dome or, yes, the current Braves at SunTrust Park). But in the latest case, these Falcons appear capable of holding their own against any halo video board or 100-yard concession gauntlet. The team actually may draw attention away from the various shiny objects that surround it.

These are exciting times. Another new stadium arrives, and with it a host of headline moments that generate all that economic impact that never seems to find its way into my paycheck. College football has its alpha and omega games of the season here. All the other big events are on the horizon. The Benz is going to rock.

You know, it’s just Atlanta being Atlanta.

Otherwise, after so many grand, glorious, eye-popping, jaw-dropping stadium openings, you start to run out of adjectives.

Reader Comments 0

19 comments
_Alaina....
_Alaina....

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WonderingAboutAmerica
WonderingAboutAmerica

These "grand" new venues do nothing to improve the fan experience or the product on the field. They are just penis substitutes for rich old men.

likomazuc
likomazuc

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0.617247588825
0.617247588825

I agree with you about the ongoing turn over in stadiums in the ATL. However, I was fortunate enough to attend the Falcons very first regular season game on 9/11/66 in the old Atlanta Stadium as well as the first regular season game in the Dome against the New York Jets in 1992. I still have the press pass from 1966 and the season ticket from 1992. As excited as I am about the new venue, I am hoping to find an affordable ticket to the first regular season game against the Packers at the Benz so I can pass on all three to my grandson (but not counting on it)!
And what ever became of America's Field?

MickDee
MickDee

Pro sports owners get great tax deals and handouts to keep their team in Atlanta.


They're the "owners" but taxpayers foot the bill.


Look at stadiums in Europe.  Like Barcelona's.  Camp Nou has Been there for 60 years.  Has subways running to it.  Buses.  Gets updated.  Has hosted Olympics, the Pope, Springsteen, Michael Jackson, U2 concerts, etc.  


I guess American engineers are only capable of designing a stadium that can't be upgraded and must be demolished in 20 years?  Embarrassing. 

PTC DAWG1
PTC DAWG1

AB paid for 80% of this new one....a win for everyone

OldEngineer
OldEngineer

@dodijok Oh goody - a computer virus and cleaning out your Paypal account - FREE!

PTCer
PTCer

I really wish they would stop with this so-called Fan-centric experience. Gouging fans to endure PSL rip-off pricing just for the privilege of buying game tickets or paying highly inflated secondary-market tickets is NOT being fan-friendly. I really could care less about all these stupid "gathering" spots so that fans can eat and drink and watch the game on TV monitors. And if we didn't have this idiotic-designed roof that STILL doesn't work, could Blank have forgone the PSLs?

I would have preferred an updated GA Dome and to be a season-ticket holder for many years -- especially now when the team is actually worth watching and paying for the price of admission. But no, we had to get a Super Bowl here -- the ultimate game where the average fan will never be able to afford getting in.

Previous Falcons season ticket holders have been priced out of this monstrosity, just so that Blank can have a two-fer to line his pockets and not share the wealth with GWCC. And that's what this comes down to: thousands of dollars fans have to fork over just to get a $2 hot dog! I don't even want to think what's in a $2 hot dog!

BlawgDawg
BlawgDawg

@PTCer Just how much less could you care? Think about what you are typing.

Hell Horsey
Hell Horsey

Also, it's Northside DRIVE, and the Dome's field was built under street level.  That's part of why the new place looks so much bigger, since it's field is at street level.

Hell Horsey
Hell Horsey

At this rate, 5 years, or after the Buzzards choke away 3 more Superbowls, whichever comes first.