As the cost of the new Falcons stadium continues to go up and up (and up), owner Arthur Blank has obtained a dispensation from his colleagues to borrow more money than NFL teams are permitted to borrow.
According to Daniel Kaplan of SportsBusiness Journal, NFL owners have agreed to waive league rules limiting the amount of debt (which some would describe as “making it up as they go”) so that the Falcons can borrow a whopping $850 million.
The problem comes from the increases expense of the project, which spiked from $1 billion to $1.2 billion in 2013 — and then from $1.2 billion to $1.4 billion earlier this year. As explained by Kaplan, it’s unclear whether the Falcons will be borrowing the full $850 million now, or whether they asked for the higher ceiling in anticipation of needing to borrow more later.
The enhanced debt underscores the unanticipated increase in building expenses. Which ultimately could result in reduced payroll expenses, if Blank decides to hold accountable anyone/everyone responsible for a project that is spiraling out of control.