Braves Planning a Move to Suburbs

Well, this is a bit of a surprise. This morning, the Braves have announced that they’re going to move to a new ballpark in 2017 following the expiration of their lease with Turner Field. Citing traffic problems and the fact that Turner Field would require “about $150 million in infrastructure work, including replacement of seats, upgrading lighting and plumbing, etc., to remain viable”, the Braves are instead just going to relocate out of a 20 year old stadium in search of something shinier and newer.

Also, importantly, the location for the new stadium is in Cobb County, which is adjacent to Fulton County, where Turner Field is located. Without the threat of potentially losing the revenues that come from having the Braves stay where they are, Fulton County is very unlikely to kick in public money to make the kinds of upgrades the Braves would like to see. Cobb County is almost certainly going to pay a significant chunk of the cost of this proposed new stadium, so now the Braves have some real leverage to get more public funding, either from Cobb County or Fulton County.

The terms of the project and who pays for what haven’t yet been released — though the Atlanta Journal Constitution is reporting that the stadium includes $450 million in public financing, nearly 2/3 of the cost of the project — so it’s impossible to make specific statements about this particular deal, but in general, publicly funded stadiums are a terrible deal for the taxpayers, and the people of Cobb County and Fulton County are likely to be the real losers of today’s announcement. For some more in depth reading on why these deals are so bad for the public, here’s one of the many papers that have been written and tackle the topic.

The Impact of Stadium and Professional Sports on Metropolitan Area Development

There’s plenty of others, and Neil DeMause has chronicled much of the information at his blog Field of Schemes, even writing a book by the same title about how many cities have been fleeced in pursuit of stadium revenues. I’d highly encourage you to check out his take on this subject and other stadium ventures, especially if you have voting rights in the state of Georgia.

An announcement isn’t the same thing as an inevitable result. My guess is that this stadium is going to face many political and legal challenges, and I don’t think anyone will be too surprised if the Braves end up staying in Turner Field, just with some extra upgrades that they didn’t have to pay for. Wendy Thurm will be on top of this story for us, so expect to read a lot more about this in the days and weeks to follow. Meanwhile, Cobb County officials, re-evaluate your priorities. Helping extort taxpayers isn’t what you got elected to do.



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Dave is the Managing Editor of FanGraphs.


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CJ
Guest
CJ

The team will be paying 200M and the team has secured 450M in private money. It is a 100% done deal. No public funding or voting needed.

bobaloo
Guest
bobaloo

source please

CJ
Guest
CJ

From an ajc political reporter: https://twitter.com/bluestein/status/399915738690904064

http://www.ajc.com/news/sports/baseball/braves-plan-to-build-new-stadium-in-cobb/nbpNQ/

[Schiller said there is not a signed agreement, but he and Plant said they are 100 percent confident at this point that the stadium will be built.

“Yes, 100 percent,” Schiller said.]

Andrew
Guest
Andrew

The deal to move the Atlanta Braves to Cobb County involves $450 million in financing by the county and another $200 million put up front by the baseball team that first moved to Atlanta in 1965, we’re told.

…and will be built in partnership with Cobb County.

Cobb County is not a private entity.

CJ
Guest
CJ

Andrew, Cobb county is arranging PRIVATE financing….not public financing. There is a difference.

CJ
Guest
CJ

https://twitter.com/RussellSauve/status/399935568957546497

Cobb County is NOT financing the stadium per one of the Cobb County Commissioners. The Braves FO would not be “100% confident” if there were any public financing involved.

Trent Phloog
Guest
Trent Phloog

CJ, your links don’t support your assertion… The Bluestein tweet does use the word “private,” but the article published in his paper does not. It only references “$450 million in financing by the county,” and comments: “The key question is whether the financing arranged by Cobb County will hold — and what kind of financing it is.” Doesn’t sound very definitive.

The other article you link to says “Braves officials also declined to provide specifics regarding the public funding” (emphasis mine).

CJ
Guest
CJ

Trent Phloog, believe what you want but the Braves FO is saying that it is “100%” done and the Cobb County commissioner was quoted as saying that there is no public financing.

Trent Phloog
Guest
Trent Phloog

Posted my initial reply before I saw that last tweet, but I don’t think I’d hang my hat on a report from “tambourine enthusiast and trumpet player” Russell Sauve. Maybe wait for an actual reporter to check facts.

tylersnotes
Member

If there’s one thing for which all baseball front offices are known, it’s never lying when they say anything is “100%”

Andrew
Guest
Andrew

CJ, I am going to need a little more evidence than the assurances of politicians and their prospective corporate welfare clients to overturn the null hypothesis that public/tax payer money will be used to finance the stadium. (I am positive the Brave’s ownership will not pay for the corresponding infrastructure improvements.)

And what about the Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax, SPLOST, passed by Cobb County voters in 2011, I cannot wait for the economic impact studies; NO municipality has ever used such tactics to finance a stadium.

Russell Sauve
Guest

CJ, the commissioner has since confirmed public money will be used. It appears he kept his office and constituents in the dark.

Trent, I made multiple phone calls to the commissioner’s office to get those facts as they stood at that time. Have you done anything to move the conversation forward except take digs about my hobbies in your snark?

Rippers
Guest
Rippers

Intersection of 285/75?

Sounds like a disaster, right? And how do they expect suburbanites south of ATL to show up for games? I’d imagine there will have to be some MARTA expansion to go along with this. So many questions, it just doesn’t make sense to me right now.

Smashing Bumpkins
Guest
Smashing Bumpkins

So you’re saying the Barves will get the financing, THE RIGHT WAY?!

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