Up-Beat day at KSU

KENNESAW - The Atlanta Beat officially have a home in Cobb County. The Beat, in partnership with…

Georgia (Dec 2, 2009) — KENNESAW - The Atlanta Beat officially have a home in Cobb County.


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The Beat, in partnership with Kennesaw State University, will play in a new $16.5 million, 8,300 seat stadium that is currently under construction on a 21-acre parcel of land off George Busbee Parkway, which was recently purchased by the Kennesaw State University Foundation.

The Foundation and the Beat are negotiating a lease agreement of at least five years. Details of the agreement were still being worked out and no dollar figure on the lease was given.

The stadium is expected to be completed and ready for play when the Beat opens its inaugural season in Women's Professional Soccer in late April or early May next year. WPS recently completed its first season with seven charter teams - Boston Breakers, Chicago Red Stars, FC Gold Pride, Los Angeles Sol, St. Louis Athletica, Sky Blue FC and the Washington Freedom. The Beat, along with the Philadelphia Independence will join the league as expansion teams in 2010.

After the first seven teams began planning for the league's first season, Marietta resident T. Fitz Johnson took the necessary steps to bring an expansion team to the Atlanta area. In September of last year, Johnson signed the letter of intent for a 2010 WPS team. The team officially became a member of WPS in June when Johnson and his management team announced the team name.

"Our vision," Johnson said about his team, "is build it to be the best in the world. And this is the only facility built specifically for (women's soccer) in the world."

The privately funded facility - paid for by the Foundation through private contributions, student fees, sponsorships, ticket sales and concessions - will be home not only to the Beat, but the Kennesaw State women's soccer team and has the ability to host numerous other events.

Wes Wicker, the executive director of the Kennesaw State University Foundation and the vice president of Advancement for Kennesaw State, said the new facility could be a "multi-million dollar impact for Cobb County," through not only ticket sales but hotel revenue, parking fees, concessions and increased restaurant patrons.

Wicker based his ideas on an economic study that included 15 Atlanta Beat games, 10 to 12 KSU women's soccer home games and 10 to 12 concerts a year with each event bringing in 8,000 to 10,0000 people.

The stadium, as it is currently being constructed, will have the ability of seating upwards of 16,000 people for concerts and could be expanded in the future for football if necessary. KSU is currently forming a football exploratory committee to determine if a football program would be wanted and/or supported. If a football team is to become a reality, the stadium could be expanded to as large as 22,000 seats.

"This will be the largest concert venue north of the perimeter and west of Georgia 400," Wicker said. "We will also try to get some regional high school events like lacrosse or football."

Beat general manager Shawn McGee added, "Our goal is to make this facility the focus for soccer in the southeast and to take soccer to a new level in this area of the country. We certainly hope to host U.S. National Team games, the NCAA College Cup and international friendlies in addition to all of our WPS games."

Johnson said the stadium will truly be a joint venture between KSU and the Beat.

"We will manage and operate the stadium," Johnson said. "No one is greedy, and we are going to share everything to make it successful."


A leader in innovative teaching and learning, Kennesaw State University offers undergraduate, graduate and doctoral degrees to its nearly 43,000 students. With 11 colleges on two metro Atlanta campuses, Kennesaw State is a member of the University System of Georgia. The university’s vibrant campus culture, diverse population, strong global ties and entrepreneurial spirit draw students from throughout the country and the world. Kennesaw State is a Carnegie-designated doctoral research institution (R2), placing it among an elite group of only 6 percent of U.S. colleges and universities with an R1 or R2 status. For more information, visit kennesaw.edu