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LEADOFF: Falcons sell $900M in stadium sponsorships, report says

Good morning. This is LEADOFF, today’s early buzz in Atlanta sports.

The Falcons organization has sold corporate sponsorships at Mercedes-Benz Stadium totaling more than $900 million in contractually obligated long-term revenue, SportsBusiness Journal reports in this week’s edition.

The publication attributes the figure to “sources close to the organization.”

The figure would put the Falcons within $100 million of their original goal of $1 billion in contracted sponsorship revenue.

The revenue will come in over the course of many years. The naming-rights deal with Mercedes-Benz, for example, runs for 27 years. Other major sponsorship deals on new stadiums often run for 10 years or longer.

Among the corporations that have agreed to sponsorship deals on Mercedes-Benz Stadium: Coca-Cola, SunTrust Banks, IBM, Equifax, Home Depot, American Family Insurance, Novelis and NCR.

Some of the sponsorship revenue will go toward paying off long-term debt that the Falcons organization took on to fund its portion of the stadium cost.

When the organization closed on $850 million in financing for the stadium in August, Falcons executive vice president and chief financial officer Greg Beadles told the AJC that some contractually obligated revenue streams from naming rights, other sponsorship deals and suite sales were pledged toward re-paying the debt.

Officials with Falcons parent company AMB Group are confident of setting a record in sponsorship sales for a U.S. stadium, according to SportsBusiness Journal’s report, which noted the record should last at least until the Los Angeles Rams’ new stadium opens.

* * *

Alabama has gone 8-1 in the Georgia Dome since 2008 — 4-1 in SEC Championship games and 4-0 in Chick-fil-A Kickoff games.

The Crimson Tide will visit again Saturday to take on Florida for the SEC title.

“Obviously, if you’ve played someplace before, you feel a little bit more comfortable when you get there,” Alabama coach Nick Saban said. “I don’t think it matters too much how I feel. I think it matters a lot how our players feel. We do have a few players that have been there before.

“Hopefully the fact that they’ve been in this game before will help them have the right psychological disposition to be able to compete well in the game, keep the right sort of balance between emotion and anxiety and intensity to be able to sustain. You never know for sure, but that’s at least what we’re hopeful of.”

RELATED: SEC Championship game kicks off big December of college football in Atlanta.

* * *

Might Georgia’s first football season post-Mark Richt end with a bowl game against … Richt’s Miami Hurricanes?

It’s an unlikely matchup, but it cannot be ruled out, DawgNation’s Seth Emerson reports here.

Richt-coached Miami finished the regular season with an 8-4 record, one game better than Georgia’s 7-5. The difference in records: Miami beat Georgia Tech, and Georgia didn’t.

* * *

The Hawks have hired four construction companies to remake Philips Arena.

The firms are Turner Construction, AECOM Hunt, SG Contracting and Bryson Constructors, with Turner — one of the nation’s leading builders of sports facilities — as the controlling partner of the joint venture.

In addition, the Hawks named Atlanta-based HJ Russell & Company, in association with Legends Project Development, as the project management team.

Full story here.

LEADOFF appears Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday mornings.

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