Atlanta Braves Might Get Their New Stadium For Free
Naming rights to baseball stadiums fetch a lot of money these days.
How much could the Atlanta Braves get for the naming rights to their new stadium, scheduled to open in time for the 2017 MLB season? The answer to that question will largely determine how much Liberty Media LMCA -0.29%, who owns the baseball team, will have to come up with for their share of the new stadium’s cost.
According to the Atlanta Journal Constitution, 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. Even though the NFL’s Atlanta Falcons are also looking to sell the naming rights to a new stadium that will debut in 2017, the Braves should be able to get at least $10 million over 20 years for naming rights.
Depending on when the Braves will pay their $200 million contribution, Liberty Media might not have to come up with a dime for its new stadium.
On Braves Move, Reed Says Atlanta Couldn’t Match Cobb Offer, Stresses Regionalism
At a morning press conference, Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed said Cobb offered “one of the best deals in America” – a stadium, he said, that would be 65 percent funded by public dollars. Reed said the city ultimately couldn’t match the offer.
“If we had made a different decision, every single dollar for everything else would have gone to fund and modernize the stadium. Now I’m not saying that I wasn’t willing to help, but I don’t think that’s the better deal for the city of Atlanta,” said Reed.
He added: “Four hundred and fifty million dollars in public funding is a pretty good deal. We can’t spend money that liberally in the city of Atlanta. We are fiscal conservatives here.”
He congratulated Cobb officials for making such a strong offer.
“I’m as competitive as anybody else, but Cobb presented them a terrific offer and I’m not going to play this Atlanta versus Cobb game. I believe in the region so we’ve got to make a decision, either we’re going to be a region or we’re not.”
Top 5 Reasons Why The Braves Move to Cobb County Makes Sense
5. The Braves will have more control over their own stadium
Currently, the Braves have absolutely no ownership in Turner Field. They simply lease the stadium, and their 20-year lease (signed after the 1996 Olympics) ends after the 2016 season. While it’s highly unlikely that the Braves will have complete ownership of their new ballpark, they will still own a portion of it, allowing them to have more of a say in the building and its upkeep.
4. Turner Field needs repairs
While the casual fan that visits Turner Field may not notice, Scheurholz believes that Turner Field is in need of at least $200 million in repairs to its infrastructure (new plumbing, lighting, etc.). Scheurholz also stated that these repairs will do nothing to enhance the fan experience, and that would cost an additional $150 million. The initial price tag on the new stadium is said to be $672 million, roughly double of what the cost would be to bring Turner Field up to pace with the newest parks in baseball.
3. The atmosphere will be built for baseball
While Turner Field is an amazing baseball experience, the surrounding area of the park leaves a lot to be desired. There are few hotels within walking distance of the park and exactly 1 restaurant. The surroundings of the new ballpark will be built so that fans will hypothetically be able to park their car at their hotel, walk to dinner, walk to the game, walk to a bar, and then walk back to their hotel. The goal is for the surroundings of the park to make it a 365 day destination, not just for 81 games.
2. The stadium will be built for baseball
Turner Field was initially built as an 85,000 seat arena for the summer olympics, only being refurbished and downsized for the Braves after the conclusion of the 1996 games.
The new ballpark will seat 42,000 fans, roughly 8,000 less than Turner Field. Not only will this allow a more intimate experience for fans, but you will see far fewer empty seats during mid-week games in which Turner Field would normally draw 20,000 fans. A ballpark built from the ground up for baseball will allow for the great fan experience that Wren was alluding too.
1. The bulk of season ticket holders are not downtown
Yes, there are many Braves fans that live in the downtown Atlanta area. But according to images provided by the Braves, a majority of season ticket holders live in suburbs north of the Atlanta area.
The move away from Turner Field will put the Braves closer to these fans, allowing them to get to the ballpark easier. The location of the new park will also allow for more parking near the stadium, and according to Scheurholz, easier access from major local highways (the park will be located at the intersection of I-75 and I-285).