Changes in sports keep coming
In the wake of the Falcons new stadium and the — even bigger news — of the Atlanta Braves moving to Cobb County, Atlanta announced last month that it had landed a MLS team. The team — yet to be named at press time — is expected to debut in 2017 when the new $1 billion Falcons stadium is finished. The team will be owned by Falcons owner Arthur Blank.
It will be the 22nd team for the franchise. Perhaps this team will succeed. Soccer has a very tenuous past in the metro area with a list of failed ventures including the now-defunct women’s team, the Atlanta Beat which played at the Fifth Third Bank KSU football stadium.
So what’s next in the sporting arena for the metro area?
Maybe talk of the professional lacrosse franchise — possibly to be based out of the KSU stadium — will resurface again. And there are still a small contingent of sports fans who are hoping for a semi-professional summer football league to land in the area. Time will tell …
Tip Top executive honored
Tip Top Poultry, one of the county’s longest and strongest food businesses, recently received some time in the limelight as its President Robin Burruss was honored. Burruss was the recipient of this year’s Marietta High School Distinguished Alumnus Award. It will be presented by the MHS Alumni Society at the Marietta Schools Foundation’s “Making a Difference” Gala at the new Marietta High School Performing Arts Center on May 14.
Burruss (MHS ’70) played football and basketball there and went to work the same year at the family business, Tip Top. He took over as president following the death of his father, state Rep. A.L. Burruss, in 1986.
Georgia, Cobb continue to grow roles in film industry
When Robert Redford and Nick Nolte filmed part of a movie in late April at Louise’s Restaurant in Marietta, it exemplified the larger picture of Georgia’s film industry.
Soon-to-be-released figures will show that in 2013, Georgia overtook Louisiana as the busiest state in the nation for TV and film-making after California and New York, according to Marietta’s Ric Reitz, president of the Georgia chapter of the Screen Actors Guild American Federation of Television and Radio Actors.
“Georgia is the most fertile ground in the country outside of California and New York,” Reitz told the Marietta Daily Journal. “We have four mild but distinct seasons, we have a variety of topography, we have ease of access and we have a deep and experienced cast and crew mix in this state. And we have Hartsfield. Do not underestimate its impact!”
Marietta Square has served as a backdrop for scenes in recent films such as “Dumb and Dumber To” and “The Watch.”
Georgia film-making got its first big boost when Burt Reynolds set “Deliverance” in Rabun County back in 1972. Then-Gov. Jimmy Carter created the Georgia Film Commission and more than 700 films and TV shows have been made in the state since then. But filmmaking in Georgia fell off in the 1990s as other states and Canada got more competitive, according to Reitz, who has appeared in scores of movies and TV shows. He traces the state’s return to competitiveness to the Legislature’s passage of transferable tax credits in 2005.
“We were only doing $100 million of business a year in the state, most of which was Turner Broadcasting,” said Reitz, a former member of the Film Commission. “Now we’re just shy of $1 billion in direct investment a year in the Georgia economy. There was a time when we couldn’t sell all the tax credits. Now we’re generating hundreds of millions a year and we can’t get enough of them.”
When the “multiplier” effect on the economy is considered, the number is more than $3 billion, he added. That spending translated to more than 23,000 jobs created and an annual payroll of $1.3 billion, Gov. Nathan Deal said last month.
There was more than $350 million invested in the state last year in new movie-studio infrastructure, according to Reitz. A big part of that is the decision by the U.K.’s Pinewood Studios, maker of such iconic brands as the Harry Potter and James Bond movies, to come here.
“They could have built anywhere in the U.S., but they’re building in Fayette County,” Reitz said. “That impacts us in Cobb because it’s generating another studio opportunity off I-85 on Jimmy Carter Boulevard in an old factory that will be converted. So we will have five major studios in our geographic area by next year. And none of that is incentivized by Georgia taxpayer dollars.”