Capitals

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.

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Three reasons the Capitals lost to the Panthers

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USA Today Sports

Three reasons the Capitals lost to the Panthers

Friday’s game had a little bit of everything. After spotting the Florida Panthers a 4-1 lead, the Capitals furiously battled back to tie the game at 4, then tied the game at 5 with just 1:25 remaining in regulation to earn an improbable point. The comeback ultimately fell short, however, as the Panthers earned the 6-5 shootout win.

Here are three reasons the Caps lost.

Bad puck management

A disastrous first period saw the Panthers score four goals and the biggest reason for that was the Caps’ puck management. They were sloppy with the puck leading to a number of costly turnovers, and Florida took advantage.

A good illustration of this game with Washington already trailing 2-1: Jakub Vrana made a lazy pass in the defensive zone that was easily intercepted by Jonathan Huberdeau, who forced a really nice save from Braden Holtby.

Whew, bullet dodged. Actually, not so fast.

Brett Connolly won the resulting faceoff, but Michal Kempny attempted a backhanded pass behind the net that was easily stolen away by Vincent Trocheck. Florida went tic-tac-toe with Trocheck to Huberdeau to Colton Sceviour who finished off the play for the goal.

No control in front of the net

Trocheck scored a rebound goal from the slot that bounced off of Lars Eller and into the net. Evgenii Dadonov scored from the slot on the power play. Sceviour scored from the high-slot after what was a generous pass from Huberdeau who looked like he could have scored from closer in…from the slot. Jared McCann pounced on a loose puck in the slot to beat a sprawling Holtby and Huberdeau scored off a rebound right in front of Holtby.

See a pattern?

The Panthers had complete control in front of the Caps’ net and all five of their goals came from in close.

Penalties

The Caps had a pretty good start to the game, but that was derailed by a Jakub Vrana penalty just 6:10 into the game. Evgeny Kuznetsov was called for hooking about 10 minutes later and Dadonov scored to put Florida up 2-1.

Despite the penalties and going down 4-1 in the first, the Caps battled back to a 4-4 tie in the second. Then the penalties popped up again.

Alex Ovechkin was called for interference on Aaron Ekblad late in the period. It was a tough call as the puck as was at Ekblad’s feet, but Ovechkin made no attempt to play the loose puck at all and simply hit Ekblad, drawing an interference call. Less than a minute later, the Caps were called for too many men giving Florida 1:15 of a two-man advantage to work with and Huberdeau scored the go-ahead goal.

After three-straight goals, the Caps’ penalties completely derailed them and swept momentum back in the Panthers’ favor.

But wait, there’s more.

With the time ticking away on the too many men penalty, Kuznetsov was tossed out of the faceoff dot. He argued with the linesman and apparently argued a bit too hard because the linesman went to the referee and Kuznetsov was booked for unsportsmanlike conduct giving Florida another 10 seconds of 5-on-3.

Despite all of that, the Caps still managed to tie the game with just 1:25 remaining in the game. Matt Niskanen, however, took a penalty with just 23 seconds left. With a 4-on-3 power play to start overtime, 

Overall, Washington gave the Panthers seven power play opportunities including two 5-on-3s, gave up two goals on the man advantage and completely killed their own momentum.

MORE CAPITALS NEWS:

10.19.18 Rick Horrow sits down with Zach Leonsis of Monumental Sports

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USA TODAY Sports

10.19.18 Rick Horrow sits down with Zach Leonsis of Monumental Sports

By Rick Horrow

Podcast edited by Tanner Simkins

LISTEN TO THE FULL PODCAST HERE

Top 3 sports biz items of the week:

1) The NHL’s new season has been infused with a bit of flare and fun that it is not used to. According to The Hockey News, players across the league have started to show a bit more personality on the ice, something that fans have been “begging for” for years. The highlight of the first week came during a wild 7-6 win for the Toronto Maple Leafs over the Chicago Blackhawks. Maple Leafs C Auston Matthews and Blackhawks RW Patrick Kane exchanged jeers after each scored a goal within the final minutes of regulation. Meanwhile in Raleigh, the Hurricanes now have one of the league’s best post-game celebrations. After a win, the whole team applauds the crowd before “skating from their own blueline to the other end of the ice and jumping into the boards.” This playful nature is one thing that the NHL has lacked compared to its NBA and NFL counterparts. With more fun, expect more fans. And to the fun mix add Gritty, the startling new Muppet-like orange Philadelphia Flyers mascot, who calls his fans “Gritizens,” has been on with Jimmy Fallon and Jimmy Kimmel, and after mere weeks has amassed over 136,000 Twitter followers.


2) E-commerce giant Amazon is used to disrupting industries in a quick and swift fashion, but its dive into sports broadcasting has been described as “humble.” According to SportsBusiness Journal, Amazon has been linked with some of the world’s biggest leagues and tournaments, such as the NFL and Premier League, despite not being a longtime player in the sports broadcasting industry. “There is more to come from Amazon, full stop. We are in it for the long-term, that’s for sure,” said Amazon Prime Video European Managing Director Alex Green. “We just get our heads down and try and do the best possible job. We are quite humble about it. Amazon may be a big name but in sports broadcasting we are not. Let’s face it.” Amazon recently celebrated its first exclusive sporting event broadcast when it streamed the U.S. Open to tennis fans in the U.K. as part of a $40 million, five-year deal. While that effort did not go smoothly, with thousands of fans unable to access the livestream, Amazon has assured its current and would-be broadcast partners that their humbling performance would only improve.


3) NFL owners are preparing for a big vote at their fall meeting this week regarding cross-ownership. According to SportsBusiness Journal, the decades-old rule currently prevents “owners of other big four sports teams in NFL markets from buying a football team,” while also preventing NFL owners from buying non-NFL Big Four sports teams in an existing NFL market. The ballooning of franchise valuations has led owners to reconsider the rule due to the shrinking pool of potential buyers for clubs. To illustrate this, when the Carolina Panthers came up for sale earlier this year, only three bidders emerged before David Tepper bought the team for $2.275 billion. Even that NFL record setting sale came in under expectations. However, the league has not strictly upheld the cross-ownership rule. Back in 2010, Stan Kroenke exercised an option to buy the then-St. Louis Rams despite owning the NBA’s Denver Nuggets and NHL’s Colorado Avalanche. Kroenke skirted around the rule after he handed off the Colorado teams to other family members, setting precedent and setting up the NFL for a sensible rule change.