Monday, November 11, 2013

OSG Opinion: The Real Reason the Atlanta Braves are Moving

Turner Field/Courtesy: Me
So…as I sat at my desk today at work and read about the Atlanta Braves announcement they were moving to Cobb County (Atlanta suburbs), I thought to myself "Hmmmm…if the county is paying the ticket, does that mean I now own part of a stadium".

For those of you who don't know: (a) I have a real job. Blogging doesn't pay the bills, Brother Jon, Brother Wilkie and I do this when we have time. (b) Yes, I live in Cobb County, roughly about 10 minutes (or 4 miles to be exact) away from where the new stadium is to be built. and © I work across the street. Or nearly. My offices are less than 1/4 mile away from where all this will take place.

Just felt like sharing.


There's already been an incredulous outrage. "How can they do this?" "Why leave a perfectly good Turner Field? It's less than 20-years old?" "Who's paying for it?" "Why are they being so greedy?"

All questions we have answers to:

First off, they (the Braves) can do whatever they want. Their lease on Turner Field ends after the 2016 season. No, they don't own the stadium. Never have. The city of Atlanta built it for the Olympics in 1996, then renovated it for the Braves to play in '97. The team pays rent and is responsible for any work done on the place. They'd don't get to share much of the profit.

Two. Turner Field. Sure, it's a nice stadium. It's got good seats and sight lines. They've worked to get some very good restaurants to open stands in the building. It's pretty easy to navigate and on the surface, is in pretty good shape.

But it's in a crappy neighborhood. It's hard to get to. It has limited parking. It has panhandlers and shady characters trying to convince you to park in their homemade lots.

And most importantly, there are NO businesses around the stadium.

Third. We're all paying for it to an extent.

Yeah, sure, the Braves are chipping in $200 million, but it's roughly 1/3 of the cost. And don't think that won't be rolled into your ticket prices for a minute. And as I said in the beginning, I'm paying for it. My wife and I are honest to goodness Cobb County taxpayers, which means it's coming out of my pocket.

And unlike a lot of others, I'm okay with that.

Fourth and most importantly, the Braves are not fooling anyone. Well, that's not totally true. They aren't fooling those of us in the know.

This is about revenue. Plain and simple.

The Braves need to be creative to raise revenue's. Unlike most MLB teams, they don't have the Billion dollar TV contract the Dodgers do. Never will. They are stuck with a crappy deal with Fox Sports South they can't get out of.

The team has a limited payroll from it's corporate owner (Liberty Media) for that very reason. It's also why they've almost always been good, not great. They can't compete for major stars.

No, don't kid yourself. The stadium is important to this deal, they'll get most of the revenue from that and the parking. But the big reason for doing this is the development around it. It appears they will have the property rights for the surrounding development. And the team has made it abundantly clear, they have plans to develop it. Quickly.

Ground is scheduled to be broken in mid-2014, the stadium should be ready in 2017.

Oddly enough, that will be mere months ahead of the Atlanta Falcons who are getting their new stadium (paid 2/3 by the team) later that year.

Just because we enjoyed this song:

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