Atlanta Braves to Get New Stadium

In big news this week the Atlanta Braves have announced plans for a new stadium in 2017. With their lease at Turner Field ending in 2016, the Braves will move to Cobb Country, a more suburban outskirt of Atlanta, and demolish Turner Field.

I personally find this to be huge news. Turner Field was built for the 1996 Olympics and the Braves began play there in 1997. That means in 2016 the Braves will have played 19 seasons in Turner Field. Business-wise I think it’s a good move. Despite being a very successful franchise the Braves have had terrible attendance. Moving to Cobb County, an amateur baseball hotbed, could drive attendance. Moreover, if the Braves will be the stadium owners, then they will make a lot of money off rent and other events because the plan is to make the stadium a facility that can host events year round.

But I am concerned about the impact this will have future stadium plans. The 1990s-2000s saw a boom in stadium building. With new stadiums teams do get a honeymoon period for a couple seasons. However, most stadiums are publicly funded and despite the propaganda that is out there, the public does lose financially when they fund new stadiums. If the Braves can get a new stadium so soon after getting another stadium, will other teams try getting new stadiums as well? For example, Jacobs Field is considered a nice stadium and will be 20 years old soon, if it isn’t already. But it’s not a place that can hold events all year and lacks the amount of luxury suites that bring in tons of money for teams. Will these start lobbying for new stadiums so soon after building other stadiums?

My fear is yes. And as stated above, I am concerned because if new stadiums are publicly funded, the local community loses, as stadiums become more and more commercialized as they cater to corporations.

 

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