Major League Baseball's Atlanta Braves have their sights set on a new venue.
According to the team's official Twitter account, the franchise plans to construct a new stadium located northwest of Atlanta in Cobb County, which would serve as the Braves' new home stadium beginning in 2017:
We are excited to announce plans to build a world-class stadium, which will open in 2017 at the NW intersection of I-75/I-285. #Braves— Atlanta Braves (@Braves) November 11, 2013
The Braves have been playing at Turner Field in downtown Atlanta since 1997. Turner Field will be demolished once the move is made, according to Mayor Kasim Reed per the Associated Press via ESPN.com.
The franchise also confirmed that it has secured a large amount of land for the new "world-class" ballpark:
We have secured a large tract of property at this location & will work to build a world-class ballpark for our fans. #Braves— Atlanta Braves (@Braves) November 11, 2013
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution's Tim Tucker adds some more detail pertaining to project preparations:
Braves executives John Schuerholz, Mike Plant and Derek Schiller said the new ballpark will be built near the intersection of I-75 and I-285 in the Galleria/Cumberland Mall area. They said the team has “secured” 60 acres of land for the project.
According to Tucker, Cobb County will assist in funding the new ballpark.
Braves reporter Kevin McAlpin says the stadium is expected to cost more than $670 million:
New stadium is expected to cost approximately $672 million. #Braves say they'll be a 'significant investor' along with Cobb County— Kevin McAlpin (@KevinMcAlpin) November 11, 2013
Jon Gillooly of The Marietta Dailey Journal provided financial background on Thursday, Nov. 14:
When the numbers for the proposed Cobb County-Atlanta Braves stadium are released today, they will show the Braves are paying for 55 percent of the $672 million stadium cost, county chairman Tim Lee told the MDJ late Wednesday night.
“The other 45 percent will be funded without a tax increase for over 95 percent of Cobb County residents,” Lee said. “This is a public-private partnership and the Braves are paying for 55 percent of the cost.”
Mike Conti of Sports Radio 92.9 The Game in Atlanta continued:
Greg Bluestein and Jim Galloway of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution previously reported financial insight behind the move on Monday, Nov. 11:
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 that first moved to Atlanta in 1965, we’re told.
There’s a Wednesday meeting at the state Capitol at which the Braves will discuss the move with Gov. Nathan Deal and Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed. Here's the gist of the Atlanta Braves' reasoning, from the press release:
Turner Field currently needs $150 million in infrastructure work (including seat replacement, upgrades to the lighting, etc.), none of which would significantly enhance the fan experience. If the Braves were to pay for additional projects focused on improving the fan experience, the additional costs would exceed $200 million.
However, Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed says that the move is not quite done yet (via WSB-TV in Atlanta):
Reed told Farmer that the property in Cobb County has been identified as a potential site by the Braves, but as not been purchased.
The mayor said the deal would include $450 million in public funding.
The financial package will not go before the Cobb County Commission until Nov. 26, according to Reed.
USA Today provides a ticket-sales map for readers:
Following the announcement, commissioner Bud Selig released a statement about the plans to build a new stadium (via MLB Public Relations):
The Braves have kept us apprised of their stadium situation throughout this process. Major League Baseball fully supports their decision to move to a new ballpark in Atlanta for the 2017 season, and we look forward to their continued excellence representing their community, both on and off the field.
With the Braves set to play three more seasons at Turner Field, it remains to be seen what sort of impact the franchise's latest plan will have on the club. Although the Braves have called Turner Field home for nearly two decades, it's still one of the newer stadiums in baseball and isn't nearly as iconic as places such as Wrigley Field or Fenway Park.
Regardless of how this move affects the commute for the team's fanbase, the Braves shouldn't have a difficult time drawing a crowd to their new ballpark. The defending National League East champions have been one of the most successful franchises in professional sports in recent years.
Atlanta won a World Series title in 1995 and has made the postseason in 17 out of the past 23 seasons.
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