Further Review

Steve Hummer's Further Review blog offers comments, asides and quick hits on the state of sports

When do new stadiums become old hat?


Do you know what you call it when a $1.5 billion stadium has its competitive unveiling in Atlanta?

A Saturday.

Yep, just another athletic open house in Atlanta, where they christen new stadiums like other cities open new farmers markets.

One day it’s The Trust opening just across the Cobb County line. The next it’s The Benz back in the belly of the city. Soon enough, Hawks World will reveal itself, a grand live-work-watch-the-local-NBA-team-rebuild-again development that will spellbind us for another 10 minutes.

Then repeat. Hey, once you get hooked on the euphoria of these grand openings, you just can’t stop. You start jonesing for that next personal seat license.

Almost forgot the completely redone Olympic/baseball stadium in which Georgia State will open its football season next Thursday night. That is another very legitimate adventure in construction. We all live in an HGTV Sports Dream Home special, running in a continual loop.

Is it possible that there is such a thing as new stadium fatigue?

Can there be so many of these big blowout occasions that the sense of wonder gets watered down like a Happy Hour spritzer?

Hope that’s not the case. I don’t want to be that jaded old soul who is convinced he has seen it all, and has wearied of celebrating the latest sporting palace taxpayers have helped construct for massively successful private enterprises.

That’s especially so in the case of Saturday’s Falcons exhibition game at the latest new thing. Just driving by the Benz – by far the more affordable view – should instill enough sense of awe that you  simply have to stop in the middle of Northside Drive to gawk and create some sort of chain-reaction fender bender.

It dwarfs the Georgia Dome. Makes it look like a relative toadstool. The Benz has made the Dome its outhouse, until implosion day.

And put aside for the moment that the non-retractable retractable roof has become a temporary one-finger salute to man’s hubris, reminding us that there are some designs – like, say, the opening of a rose bud – better left to nature.

Still, I wonder if a stadium can be covered under Georgia’s Lemon Law? If the roof thing never does work right, can they just turn in this building for a new one?

In a way, the Falcons kind of messed up the impact of their new place. One of the real benefits of a flashy new building is to distract the viewer from the human horrors on the floor (see the 28-54 Hawks in the first year of Philips Arena or the 6-10 Falcons at the opening of the Georgia Dome or, yes, the current Braves at SunTrust Park). But in the latest case, these Falcons appear capable of holding their own against any halo video board or 100-yard concession gauntlet. The team actually may draw attention away from the various shiny objects that surround it.

These are exciting times. Another new stadium arrives, and with it a host of headline moments that generate all that economic impact that never seems to find its way into my paycheck. College football has its alpha and omega games of the season here. All the other big events are on the horizon. The Benz is going to rock.

You know, it’s just Atlanta being Atlanta.

Otherwise, after so many grand, glorious, eye-popping, jaw-dropping stadium openings, you start to run out of adjectives.


Reader Comments ...

About the Author

Steve Hummer writes sports features for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. He covers a wide range of sports and topics.