The Atlanta Braves did just fine in Turner Field for the last 17 years. With infrastructure improvements, there would be no reason to move to Cobb County. PHOTO: Flickr, b r e n t, CC License
The Atlanta Braves will move to a new stadium in Cobb County, starting in 2017 when their lease ends at Turner Field in 2016. The stadium deal is such a mess that the Tea Party and the Sierra Club, who don’t tend to agree on much, are joining forces to fight the new Atlanta Braves stadium. So, why does the proposed Atlanta Braves stadium in Cobb County suck? Well, for starters, one reason given for the need for a new Braves stadium was that Turner Field didn’t have enough parking. So, of course, the new Braves stadium in Cobb County will have…2,500 fewer parking spots. But don’t worry, they will also utilize parking lots in the area, and then shuttle fans to the stadium using some sort of tram system. Leaving after a game is going to be really fun for the 10,000 fans who have to wait an hour to get on the tram to get back to their cars.
That’s one part of the story, the other part is in the name of the Atlanta Braves stadium protest website, 300millionreasons.com. The website alleges that the stadium deal includes $300 million from tax payers. The biggest reason that the Braves state for moving is that Turner Field requires $150-200 million in infrastructure improvements. And sure, that’s a lot, but it’s still a lot cheaper than building an entirely new baseball stadium. The Braves proudly announce on their website that they are footing 98% of the “upfront costs” but there is a notable lack of detail after that.
A few people are going to get rich off this stadium deal, but it’s unlikely that the residents of Cobb County will get that money back. New baseball stadiums are generally a terrible deal for tax payers, who tend to foot the bill against their will, with counties offering giant tax breaks under the premise that the stadium will bring jobs and revenue to the surrounding area. Most of the studies on this find that no, the surrounding area gets a lot of traffic, but a big boost in business doesn’t generally come with it. As an example as to why, I went to more Mets and Yankees games than I can count growing up, and I don’t ever recall sticking around the Bronx or Queens to have dinner or do a little shopping.
Oh, and the kicker: in the weeks before the stadium deal was announced, investors bought a bunch of property near the proposed Cobb County stadium. Lucky them!
Whether you tend more toward the Tea Party or the Sierra Club (or both! You can be fiscally and environmentally conservative), you have good reason to oppose the Atlanta Braves new stadium. You can sign the petition opposing the Braves’ move to Cobb County at 300millionreasons.com.