"There are limitations in what we can do at the Georgia Dome," he said. "Technology is terribly important. That will be completely solved in a new stadium."
That's right, not only is he asking for a new stadium to replace one he admits is
perfectly functional, but
Village Voice writer and FieldofSchemes.com editor Neil DeMause says he's looking for another
$300 million to $400 million in public funding for it. While nearly two-thirds of fans surveyed think it's a
bad idea, none of their elected officials have come forward to challenge Blank on it.
Blank and the Falcons didn't have to black out a single game or threaten to switch cities to make that happen. The same can't be said for other cities. In no specific order, here's how things played out for blacked-out cities this year:
Number of blackouts: Two
Buffalo didn't have the most television blackouts among NFL teams this year, but its blackouts seemed to hurt most.
The team just concluded the latest in a string of non-winning seasons dating back to 1999 and finished at the bottom of the AFC East. One of its "home" games has been played in Toronto for each of the past four years and this year's game couldn't draw more than 40,000 people even with Psy singing
The Bills declined the NFL's offer to lift blackouts at 85% capacity, largely because doing so would require it to pay $90,000 per home game into the league's anti-blackout revenue pool. They needed a local restaurant owner to buy up remaining tickets to prevent a third blackout this year. Yet, despite all of this, folks in Erie County and New York State are going to shell out $226 million in tax dollars combined to renovate the Bills' Ralph Wilson Stadium. The Bills will kick in a scant $44 million.
This is a team that regularly asks Buffalo to fill its 73,000-seat-stadium with nearly a third of its population just to keep games on television while the Chicago Bears require just 62,000 of that city's 2.7 million residents to do the same. It's a team that wouldn't commit to a future in the city beyond 94-year-old owner Ralph Wilson's lifespan. It's a team that celebrated its new deal by blacking out the Bills' last home game of the season.