In this episode I chat with Clayton Trutor about his forthcoming book – Loserville: How Professional Sports Remade Atlanta and How Atlanta Remade Professional Sports.
The book covers all 4 of the major professional sports teams that came to Atlanta in a short period of time, but our episode mostly covers the Atlanta Falcons’ portion. Below you will find the Clayton Trutor interview on The Football History Dude podcast as well as the Football Is Family podcast.
Be sure to pre-order your book today.
Loserville: Book Summary
In July 1975 the editors of the Atlanta Constitution ran a two-part series entitled “Loserville, U.S.A.” The provocatively titled series detailed the futility of Atlanta’s four professional sports teams in the decade following the 1966 arrival of its first two major league franchises, Major League Baseball’s Atlanta Braves and the National Football League’s Atlanta Falcons.
Two years later, the Atlanta Hawks of the National Basketball Association became the city’s third major professional sports franchise. In 1972 the National Hockey League granted the Flames expansion franchise to the city, making Atlanta the first southern city with teams in all four of the big leagues.
The excitement surrounding the arrival of four professional franchises in Atlanta in a six-year period soon gave way to widespread frustration and, eventually, widespread apathy toward its home teams. All four of Atlanta’s franchises struggled in the standings and struggled to draw fans to their games. Atlantans’ indifference to their new teams took place amid the social and political fracturing that had resulted from a new Black majority in Atlanta and a predominately white suburban exodus.
Sports could never quite bridge the divergence between the two. Loserville examines the pursuit, arrival, and response to professional sports in Atlanta during its first decade as a major league city (1966–75). It scrutinizes the origins of what remains the primary model for acquiring professional sports franchises: offers of municipal financing for new stadiums.
Other Sunbelt cities like San Diego, Phoenix, and Tampa that aspired to big-league stature adopted Atlanta’s approach. Like the teams in Atlanta, the franchises in these cities have had mixed results—both in terms of on-field success and financial stability.
Clayton Trutor Bio
Clayton Trutor holds a PhD in US History from Boston College and teaches at Norwich University in Northfield, Vermont.
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