The Atlanta Falcons are the latest NFL team linked to a possible move to the Los Angeles market, according to the Atlanta Business Chronicle.
Falcons owner Arthur Blank reportedly told Atlanta mayor Kasim Reed and other officials that Los Angeles leaders have approached him about moving the franchise to Southern California.
Gov. Nathan Deal expressed concern Tuesday.
“It’s incumbent on us to make sure we don’t lose the franchise,” Deal said.
“What it does is emphasize the fact that having a major football team like the Atlanta Falcons is a sought-after commodity,” Deal said. “I recognize that fact.”
Deal did not tie Blank's report to his team's negotiations with the state on financial incentives toward construction of a new $1 billion stadium. The city of Atlanta may also be drawn into financial talks if the state's package does not suit the team. Deal credited Blank with not yet threatening to move the Falcons.
“Arthur Blank has never played that card, and I give him credit for that,” said Deal, who added that “I have not had any direct conversations about this.”While Deal has supported dedicating $300 million in hotel tax revenue in a partnership with the team, he is still calling on the team to carry a substantial load. Blank is on the record desiring a new downtown stadium, but some Georgia legislators have publicly protested the concept of any public financing for the new stadium.