demographic consideration in Atlanta is that many of its citizens can afford to
boat or hunt or play golf or tennis, rather than go into town and sit among a
lot of sweaty hollering fans. Many other Atlantans can't afford to buy tickets.
There aren't as many people between these extremes as there are in most cities.
Atlanta is a town of executives and poor people. Blue-collar people are
traditionally strong attenders of professional sports. Atlanta has a
Gaps, gaps, gaps.
All these gaps create anxiety, but they also breed new forms of life. In what
other town could Ted Turner have flourished so broadly so fast? "At least
all the gloom and doom makes people pay attention to Atlanta," he says.
"Either be the very best or the very worst, and people will always remember
The night Turner
was holding forth in the Omni Club, a dumpy man in a nice suit kept
interrupting. For a while Turner indulged this man, then he started listening
The man was
saying he owned 157 corporations that grossed $1,640,000,000 the previous year.
Yes, $1.64 billion. He was Earl Thomas, out of Ohio, and he was 56 years old,
and his holdings, he claimed, included European soccer teams, the Columbus Owls
(a minor league hockey team in Ohio) and the ground Madison Square Garden once
stood on. He and his son and their attaches were in town, he said, to buy the
Flames. For cash. He'd been negotiating all day to buy them, he said, and it
looked like the deal would go through, if he could lease the Omni building and
the concessions along with the team.
Thomas a sampler of the Apple Jack Tobacco he was chewing. "I have an
option to lease the Omni," Turner said.
say you don't." said Thomas.
do," said Turner.
take you to court then," said Thomas. They were glaring at each other nose
to nose, both having a fine time.
squash your tail, too!" cried Turner. "Hey, you're not spitting. You're
swallowing. You're tough, Earl!"
"I told Boom
Boom Geoffrion a minute ago," Thomas said, " 'Tell those boys to play
their hearts out, because there's a short, bald, white-headed fat man up there
who's going to keep them in Atlanta.' "