ATLANTA, GA-- The Atlanta Falcons say they aren't threatening to leave town. "The Falcons have never threatened to move the team out of metro Atlanta, and that is still our position today," Falcons president Rich McKay said in a statement.
Monday Mayor Kasim Reed briefed city council members on the effort to put together a financing package to build a new stadium to replace the Georgia Dome. During the briefings, he included the spectre of a Falcons move to Los Angeles.
"I think Mayor Reed just laid out the reality that faces us as a city that must compete with others," said Sonji Jacobs Dade, spokeswoman for Reed, who was out of town Tuesday.
The Falcons want hotel-motel tax dollars to pay for a portion of a new billion-dollar stadium. They'd agreed to pay $700 million of the project, with tax money paying $300 million. Gov. Nathan Deal killed that deal in a meeting with Falcons brass January 18. The Falcons' leverage is to leave town-- though they've always ruled out leaving metro Atlanta.
Tuesday, Deal said that it's clear other cities covet major sports franchises. "I think we all have to recognize it is a competitive environment. And keeping a major team like our Atlanta Falcons in the city of Atlanta is very important to our state," Deal said.
Ivory Lee Young Jr. was among the council members briefed Monday.
"To date we've heard nothing from the Alanta Falcons that suggests they have a desire to move," Young said. "So yeah, we got an offer from the west coast. We don't care!"
Dade disputed Young's contention that there has been "an offer from the west coast."
"There has been no imminent offer, tangible offer," Dade said.