Atlanta Falcons to lend $850 million for stadium construction

Thursday, Apr 30, 2015

The Atlanta Falcons plan to take out construction loans totaling $850 million to help fund the team’s portion of the cost of building the new retractable-roof stadium downtown, a team official told a state agency Tuesday.

Greg Beadles, the Falcons’ executive vice president and chief financial officer, told the Georgia World Congress Center Authority board that the team expects to secure the loans from a syndicate of up to eight banks within the next couple of weeks.

The Falcons reported to the GWCCA on the status of their financing as the city’s economic development agency, Invest Atlanta, prepares to issue bonds in May to cover the city’s $200 million commitment toward stadium construction and to cover additional issuance costs. The bonds, and the interest on them, will be repaid from Atlanta hotel-motel tax revenue over the next 30 years.

The Falcons’ loans will be for up to five years, by which point longer-term financing would be secured. The Falcons would be able to reduce the loan amount at that point with revenue generated from sales of sponsorships, suites and seats.

The eight banks met with Falcons officials on April 16, according to Elliott McCabe, managing director of the Sports Finance & Advisory Group at Bank of America, the Falcons’ stadium financial advisor.

“I can report the expressions of interest are very strong,” McCabe told the GWCCA board. “In fact, we have received verbal and written commitments in excess of the amount we need.”

After hearing from the Falcons and the city, the GWCCA board voted to authorize a “final closing” next month on the agency’s voluminous stadium agreements with the Falcons.

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