Source: Ken Belson, The New York Times
Don Garber, the commissioner of M.L.S., readily admits that he was among those shocked by Atlanta United’s instant success. His view of the city, he said, had remained stuck in the 1990s, before the influx of corporations, the rebirth of downtown and the arrival of hundreds of thousands of newcomers changed Atlanta’s demographics. He also had questioned the wisdom of playing in a cavernous N.F.L. stadium in a Southeastern Conference college market, but he eventually deferred to Blank, who reassured him — repeatedly — that he had a better sense of his city.
“Atlanta had a reputation for transient folks from other places who didn’t connect with any one thing except college football,” Garber said. “The size of the stadium caused us concern, but Arthur kept saying, ‘I will fill the stadium.’ The fact that it was downtown was what put us over the finish line.”
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