Barry Wilner / The Associated Press
BOSTON -- NFL owners approved a $200 million loan Tuesday for the Atlanta Falcons to build a new stadium.
The multipurpose stadium could cost as much as $1 billion, with team owner Arthur Blank committed to funding most of it.
Blank, speaking at the NFL's spring meetings, called the decision by the team owners an "important milestone" in moving the project forward.
"The NFL has supported new stadium construction through various means for decades," he said. "Our club owners understand that investments ... are important to the long-term strength of the league, and we thank them for their support."
The stadium also will be built with $200 million from public bonds.
Blank said the design and construction of the Falcons' new home will take place over the next four years and the team plans to open the 2017 season there. The Georgia Dome, which opened in 1992, will be demolished when the new stadium opens.
Later Tuesday, owners will vote on the sites of the 50th and 51st Super Bowls. The San Francisco Bay Area and Florida are bidding for the 2016 game. The loser for that game will face Houston for the righto hold the 2017 Super Bowl.