Wizards

Falcons a little closer to getting new stadium

Falcons a little closer to getting new stadium

ATLANTA (AP) After about two years of discussions, the Atlanta Falcons are a step closer to getting a new downtown stadium.

The state agency that owns the 20-year-old Georgia Dome on Monday approved the framework for a deal with the Falcons to build a roughly $1 billion stadium with a retractable roof. There are still several key steps ahead, including exactly how much the government will have to contribute and where it will be built.

The deal calls for the Falcons to pay about 70 percent of the total cost, and the government will pay for the rest with a hotel tax. The Fulton County Commission and the city of Atlanta still must approve using the revenue from the tax to build the new stadium. Mayor Kasim Reed has thrown his support behind the deal.

Under the proposal, the Falcons will run the facility and the Georgia World Congress Center Authority, a state agency, will own it. The Falcons will agree not to relocate and pay $2.5 million in rent annually. The franchise gets to keep revenue generated from parking and operations.

The new stadium expects to have a seating capacity of between 66,000 and 72,000 and be completed in 2017. The proposal also calls for demolishing the Georgia Dome, which is also owned by the authority.

The Georgia Dome hosted artistic gymnastics and basketball during the 1996 Olympic Games as well as NCAA basketball tournament games, soccer matches and rock concerts. The 1994 and 2000 Super Bowls were played there, and it will host the NCAA Final Four in April.

Rich McKay, CEO of the Atlanta Falcons, said the franchise would explore plans to relocate within Atlanta or the metro area if the deal is not approved by local leaders.

``We would probably go back and look at a solution that involves an outdoor stadium somewhere else. That would not be our desire, and we don't anticipate that,'' McKay said, ``We've really put our eggs in this basket.''

According to NFL.com, the Georgia Dome is the 10th-oldest out of the league's 32 stadiums.

``I think this stadium should be iconic unto itself, and should put Atlanta in a position where we can attract any event that we desire to attract,'' McKay said.

Frank Poe, executive director of the authority, said the agency has no contingency plan if city and county officials assail the proposal.

Officials also need to decide whether the new stadium would be built on property north of the Georgia Dome, or on a lot south of the 71,250-seat arena. Poe said land costs, potential traffic congestion and the projected impacts on nearby neighborhoods will likely factor into that decision.

Falcons coach Mike Smith and his players have paid little attention to the stadium negotiations. The team is 11-2 and already has clinched a playoff spot by winning the NFC South.

``I don't concern myself with the stadium,'' Smith said. ``I know that's something that's way down the timeline.''

Offensive tackle Tyson Clabo chuckled when asked about it.

``Let me tell you a little secret about this new stadium,'' the 31-year-old Clabo said. ``I'm going to be long gone by the time we play there.''

William Perry, of Georgia Common Cause, a nonprofit, non-partisan citizen advocacy group, said the public has not been given enough opportunity to weigh in.

``It just seems like there needs to be more dialogue about what the public wants in this whole deal,'' Perry said. ``It just gives the appearance that this thing is sailing through like a rubber stamp.''

His organization has not taken a position on the proposal.

Quick Links

Wizards vs. Hornets: TV, live stream and radio info, things to watch

usatsi_10549712.jpg
USA TODAY Sports

Wizards vs. Hornets: TV, live stream and radio info, things to watch

Bradley Beal, Otto Porter, Kelly Oubre, Jr. and the Washington Wizards battle Kemba Walker, Dwight Howard, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist and the Charlotte Hornets on Friday night.

Here is all you need to know: TV, live stream and radio info, tip-off time, plus three things to watch:

WASHINGTON WIZARDS VS. CHARLOTTE HORNETS

Where: Capital One Arena
Tip-off: 7 p.m.
TV: NBC Sports Washington (coverage begins at 6 p.m.)
Live stream: NBCSportsWashington.com
Radio: 1500 AM

On a roll

The Wizards have some serious momentum going right now. With an impressive win over the Cavs on Thursday, they have now won three straight games and eight of 10 since John Wall went down with a left knee injury. They had a week off due to the All-Star break, but didn't show any rust at all in their first game back.

The Wizards are now 34-24, 10 games above the .500 mark. They are fourth in the East and could move into third on Friday if they win and the Cavaliers lose. Even with Wall out, things continue to look up for Washington.

PODCAST: BIGGEST STORYLINES COMING OUT OF ALL-STAR BREAK

Hornets have had their number

The Wizards haven't done so well against the Hornets so far this season. Charlotte has taken both meetings and that includes a 24-point win on Jan. 17. That game featured Dwight Howard taunting the Wizards late in the fourth quarter.

Howard has killed the Wizards through two games with averages of 22.0 points and 14.0 rebounds. Jeremy Lamb (20.0 ppg vs. Wizards) has been a big factor as well as All-Star Kemba Walker (21.5 ppg vs. Wizards).

The last time these teams played about a month ago frustrations boiled over in an incident that got Tim Frazier ejected. Michael Carter-Williams picked a fight with Jason Smith and Frazier went off:

RELATED: BEAL IMPRESSED BY LEBRON AT ALL-STAR GAME

Hornets coming in hot

The Hornets are outside the playoff picture at the moment at eight games below .500, but they have won two straight games and Walker and Howard are coming off huge games. In a win over the Brooklyn Nets on Thursday, Walker dropped 31 points and Howard grabbed 24 rebounds.

Those guys will be riding a high coming into Washington on Friday. But it should be noted that Howard complained after the game how tired he is at this point in the season. That exhausion could affect him more in the second game of a back-to-back.

RELATED: LATEST NBA POWER RANKINGS

 

Quick Links

5 must-see moments from Wizards' huge road win over Cavaliers, including Markieff Morris' alley-oop

5 must-see moments from Wizards' huge road win over Cavaliers, including Markieff Morris' alley-oop

Here are the five best plays or moments from the Washington Wizards' 110-103 win over the Cleveland Cavaliers on Thursday night...

1. The Wizards didn't start out well, as they trailed by nine points at the end of the first quarter. Kelly Oubre, Jr. stumbled early by missing four of his first six shots and it looked like a carryover of his slump before the All-Star break.

But Oubre got hot in the second quarter and helped the Wizards turn the game around. This was one of his best plays, a two-handed slam that he celebrated with an emphatic scream to the crowd:

RELATED: BEAL IMPRESSED BY LEBRON AT ALL-STAR GAME

2. Tomas Satoransky was one of the stars of the game. He had 17 points to go along with eight assists, four rebounds and two steals. 

Here's one of his dimes, a perfect alley-oop lob to Markieff Morris, who finished with nine points and eight rebounds:

3. Satoransky has reached double-figures in six of the 10 games since John Wall went out with an injury. This was a very impressive move, a stepback fadeaway that was super smooth:

RELATED: GET TO KNOW NEW WIZARDS FREE AGENT SIGNING

4. Ian Mahinmi made some key contributions including four offensive rebounds and a steal. This was his best basket, a powerful slam that came at a key time:

5. This play helped seal the victory. It was a smart after-timeout set drawn up by head coach Scott Brooks and it worked to perfection:

RELATED: LATEST NBA POWER RANKINGS