The Atlanta Braves announced Monday morning they’re moving from Turner Field to a new stadium in Cobb County for the 2017 season.
Well, that one came out of left field, didn’t it? All the talk about new stadiums in baseball centered on places like Oakland and Tampa Bay. The Braves hadn’t, to my knowledge, been discussed as a team needing a new stadium considering Turner Field opened in 1997 after the Olympics in Atlanta. The Braves don’t own Turner Field and the lease expires after 2016.
It appears the Braves have been planning the move for a while and all you have to do is visit this website – homeofthebraves.com – if you disagree. The site says Turner Field needed $150 million in infrastructure work, which the Braves say wouldn’t enhance the fan experience. The team is now claiming Turner Field was constructed with the “three weeks” of the Olympics in mind only, which sounds a little fishy since the team quickly turned it from the Olympic Stadium into a baseball-only facility (and three years before the Olympics, the Braves using the stadium was part of the deal to get it done).
The exact split of the funding for the new $672 million, 42,000-seat stadium between the county and team has yet to be revealed. From the AJC:
The Braves will pay a substantial portion of the cost of building the stadium but would not say how much. The Braves officials declined to provide details on how Cobb County will participate financially in the deal.
So figure the Braves got a nice deal to move to a new park that will be nestled near the intersection of I-75 and I-285 — approximately 13 miles from downtown Atlanta, a location toward the northwest suburban areas that the MARTA public transportation does not currently reach.
It also means downtown Atlanta saw two facilities open in the 1990s — the Georgia Dome in 1992 and Turner Field in 1997 – which have already been deemed out-dated.
However this pans out, let’s hope the Waffle House inside Turner Field makes the journey to Cobb County.
[UPDATE: A new report from the AJC has the County paying over $450 million and the Braves ponying up $200 million.]