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September 11, 2019

"An opportunity to be on the world stage" - Governor Brian Kemp


MAC’s public policy team and the Atlanta Sports Council convened business executives, government officials, and sports industry leaders last month to discuss our momentum around major sporting events Atlanta has hosted, including the 2019 Super Bowl and 2018 CFP National Championship, and will host, including the 2020 NCAA Men’s Final Four and 2022 MLB All-Star game.

We hosted John Kristick, executive director for the 2026 World Cup United Bid Committee, for a look into the process of attracting the 2026 FIFA World Cup to metro Atlanta. We heard from a panel of leaders from our top teams: Atlanta United FC, the Atlanta Hawks, the Atlanta Braves, the Atlanta Dream and the Atlanta Falcons. We examined the lasting legacy of the 1996 Olympics, discussed homegrown talent with some of our college athletic directors, and we directed our gaze to the future with the emerging esports industry.

Most of all, we hope this event drove home the need for investment in our sports ecosystem. To continue attracting top-tier global events, we need the support of our local and state government and our welcoming business community.

Panel by Panel Breakdown

Setting the Scene and Looking Ahead

“There’s a relationship between these sports events and public policy, and so those of us in the public policy arena: our job is to create the environment for these events to succeed. So I want to continue to work to make Atlanta a destination city, and in order to do that we have to create strong sports programming and tourism, and both of them are intertwined.”
- The Honorable Calvin Smyre, Dean of the Georgia House of Representatives

“These major events bring additional business, improve quality of life, and bring Atlanta and the State of Georgia to the forefront on the world stage.”
- Senator Butch Miller, President Pro Tempore of the Georgia State Senate

Pro Teams Panel

“When these events happen, it creates opportunity for businesses, employees, fans, and it trickles down. These teams are part of the landscape and has helped in powering the city.”
- Steve Koonin, CEO, Atlanta Hawks

Landing the World Cup

On metro Atlanta's assets in attracting the World Cup: "Top technology, central location, previous hosting experience, position as a global business hub, and the fantastic diversity and inclusion within the region."

- John Kristick, Executive Director, 2026 World Cup United Bid Committee

On the 2026 World Cup: "It is an opportunity to be on the world stage."

-The Honorable Brian Kemp
Governor of Georgia

The Olympic Legacy

“I think one of the great things about hosting an Olympics is the unifying aspect to it. It brings people together.”
- Charlie Battle, Former Managing Director, Atlanta Committee for the Olympic Games

Homegrown Talent: Athletic Directors Panel

“It’s an opportunity for us to continue as a state continue to look for ways to grow the economy, strengthen the economy, continue to better educate kids.”

- The Honorable Geoff Duncan
Lieutenant Governor of Georgia

The Esports Ecosystem

“Esports contributes to the overall sports culture in Atlanta because it unifies and connects our communities.”
- Allie Young, CEO and Founder, Axis Replay

“Georgia is in a position to lead esports… esports speaks to the goal of sports, which is a fair playing field where everyone can play.”
- Todd Harris, Co-founder and CFO, Hi-Rez Studios 

MAC Moments

Rich Kenah, Executive Director, Atlanta Track Club
Allison Fillmore, Executive Director, TOUR Championship
Jay Caiafa, Senior Vice President, Hotel Lifecycle & Growth, IHG Americas


View the full photo gallery here.

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