The breaking news in Atlanta sports today is all about the Braves. The Marietta Daily Journal rocked the metro area with the announcement of the city’s baseball franchise leaving the city limits. The teams lease runs out in 2016 at Turner Field and for the 2017 season they will move to Cobb County. Now some fans will have an issue with the club moving but from a business end this makes sense for the organization.
The new build will seat 41,000 fans and will be a multi-use facility. The team will not be seated at the I-75 / I-285 corridor. This will allow perfect access for fans that are from the Tennessee area and Alabama. The majority of the Braves fans who purchase tickets are not from the city of Atlanta. Not to mention there is a major traffic issue when fans are trying to reach the games at the current location. There will be a much easier commute to the facility. Now some people will say that there is not a public transportation option. Well guess what there is not a train headed to Turner Field either. Cobb County will have bus access just like Turner Field currently has.
Braves Season Ticket Holder Map
On the Braves official website they released the following statement…
Turner Field is a facility that was built for three weeks of use for the Olympics, but has now served us well for nearly 20 years. The issue isn’t the Turner Field we play in today, but instead whether or not the venue can remain viable for another 20 to 30 years.
Turner Field has served the Braves well since 1997, but it is in need of major infrastructure work, which will cost around $150 million. These upgrades are functional ones, such as replacing worn-out seats or upgrading the stadium’s lighting, and they would do little to significantly enhance the fan experience. If the Braves were to pay for additional projects focused on improving the fan experience, the additional costs could exceed $200 million.
Those upgrades still wouldn’t address the logistical challenges outside the stadium – lack of consistent mass transit options, inadequate number of parking spaces and limited access to major highways.
The team is also looking at the before and after game fan experience that the area can provide. In the Cumberland area there are already two very good shopping facilities and a few restaurants that customers can frequent. Of course more things will be built around the facility. Currently the Turner Field surrounding area is not the friendliest place to be. There is nowhere to really go to do anything and no one in the city has tried to build up the area.
Keith B. Holt
Follow on Twitter @Kholtjr