Source: Phil Hudson, Atlanta Business Chronicle
After making their first Super Bowl appearance in nearly 20 years, the Atlanta Falcons gave team President and CEO Rich McKay a five-year contract extension through June 2022.
McKay is entering his 14th year with the Atlanta Falcons. He was hired in 2004 as Falcons’ president and general manager and then in 2011 was promoted to president and CEO of the team. In 2015, McKay was named president of AMBSE and, in that position, has played a pivotal role in the negotiation, development and progress of building the $1.5 billion, 71,000-seat Mercedes-Benz Stadium, which is set to open later this year as the home of the Falcons and Major League Soccer's expansion team, Atlanta United.
AMB Group LLC CEO Steve Cannon said McKay has been important to the AMB Group's businesses and Atlanta’s growth for many years.
"We are thrilled to extend his contract with the Falcons and AMB Sports & Entertainment,” Cannon said in a statement. "He has been instrumental in the success of the Atlanta Falcons on and off the field and has played a very important role in making Mercedes-Benz Stadium a reality, and in bringing Major League Soccer to Atlanta. Rich is a great champion of our core values and will continue to be a strong leader in our organization and community for years to come.”
AMB Group LLC is the investment management and support services arm of The Home Depot Inc. (NYSE: HD) co-founder Arthur Blank's-owned businesses that owns the Falcons, United, PGA TOUR Superstore, Mountain Sky Guest Ranch, AMB West LLC and Mercedes-Benz Stadium.
McKay is the son of late University of Southern California head football coach John McKay. Before coming to Atlanta, McKay was president and general manager of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. And, according to the Falcons, McKay is the only executive to have led two successful stadium negotiations (Raymond James Stadium and Mercedes-Benz Stadium).
McKay has been one of the National Football League’s most successful executives for over 30 years on both the club and league levels. He has served on the Competition Committee for 23 years, the last 20 of which he has served as co-chairman (1998-2011) and chairman (2011 to present). Additionally, he played an important role in helping to renegotiate and extend the current collective bargaining agreement (CBA).
During a 2015 interview with Atlanta Business Chronicle, McKay said his role as president and CEO differs from General Manager Thomas Dimitroff’s role because McKay is "much more on the business side."
"Thomas is the football side," he said. "I consult with Thomas on the football side, really from the Salary Cap standpoint more than anything else and the contracts. My job is to run the business and stadium side of our business. His job is to really focus on the personnel side of business."
The Falcons said McKay's contribution and influence to the city and state has been critical in leading Atlanta’s efforts to land the 2018 College Football Championship, Super Bowl LIII in 2019 and the NCAA Men’s Final Four in 2020, all of which will be played in Mercedes-Benz Stadium. McKay continues to serve in a variety of roles for the city and state in several civic organizations and was recently named chairman of Central Atlanta Progress (CAP) for 2017.
McKay recently told Atlanta Business Chronicle he expects the city to make a strong statement to the sports world when it hosts Super Bowl LIII.
“You’re hosting the biggest event potentially in the world; therefore you’re going to put your stadium, city, state and region on the biggest stage there is so you’re really trying to make a bold statement,” McKay said.
Since the 1994 and 2000 Super Bowls in Atlanta, McKay said the event surrounding the game has become substantially larger.
“I don’t even think it resembles itself,” he said. “It used to be a two or three-day event that had a tremendous economic impact but it was short in duration. It’s a much bigger event now — at least a week long and the television exposure, media exposure, all of those elements are substantially higher than they were so the whole thing has scaled up.”
McKay anticipates Atlanta will further cement itself as hub for major sporting events because he believes “Atlanta is already a pretty darn good sports city.”
“We’ve had three major professional sports teams — the Falcons, Braves and Hawks — and we’ve had them for a long, long time,” he said. “We have an intown college sports team that plays at the highest level in Georgia Tech We have another college program that plays at the highest level in The University of Georgia, which is only 40 miles away. We host the TOUR Championship. We’re a pretty big time sports city.”