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The Braves are leaving Turner Field after the 2016 season

Nov 11, 2013, 9:08 AM EDT

Chicago Cubs v Atlanta Braves Getty Images

The Marietta Daily Journal reports — and the Braves have since confirmed — that they are moving to a new, suburban ballpark after the 2016 season. The new park will be in Cobb County, near the intersection of I-75 and I-285. The move is occasioned by the end their 20 year lease agreement for Turner Field, which expires at the end of the 2016 season.

This move is completely unexpected. Turner Field, which is a retrofit of the Olympic stadium from the 1996 summer games, has only housed the Braves since 1997. There is nothing about it that is obsolete or lacking for baseball. It’s a bit big and the Braves don’t draw as well as teams who have been as successful as they have been should draw, but that speaks to the nature and popularity of baseball in Atlanta — and a bit about Atlanta geography and demographics — not the ballpark.

It is worth noting, however, that the area where this report would have a new Braves ballpark is in the prosperous and growing northern Atlanta suburbs, where a great many Braves fans (and players) reside already. So, while such a move would be against the tide of recent history, a team actually leaving the urban center to move to the burbs would not be as an insane and antiquated notion in Atlanta as it might be in other cities.

It’s possible that the idea of a move is part of a negotiating position in lease discussions between the team and the city. The story notes that the land for the new ballpark is under contract, but that a deal is not yet closed. It is possible that a Cobb County option is the Braves’ ace in the hole, as it were, and they’re getting more bold in playing it.

But with the team confirming all of this? That does seem like more than mere negotiating tactic.

  1. pastabelly - Nov 11, 2013 at 9:12 AM

    More money is wasted in Atlanta on new stadiums on a continuing basis. Is it true that the Falcons are also planning on moving out of the Georgia Dome and building a stadium with a retractable roof nearby? This medium sized city barely supports the teams it has. Turner Field is actually a pretty decent ballpark and this makes very little sense.

    • umrguy42 - Nov 11, 2013 at 9:40 AM

      Yeah, the Falcons are looking at a new stadium as well. Think that might be the one where things were being held up recently by negotiations over a piece of property that currently has a church on it (willingness to sell wasn’t necessarily an issue, just the price, IIRC).

      Also… important question: will they put the Waffle House in the new stadium?

      • bravojawja - Nov 11, 2013 at 10:39 AM

        The churches sold out. The new stadium will be built on the Falcons’ preferred site.

    • tywebb76 - Nov 11, 2013 at 10:11 AM

      I live in the Atlanta metro area and I’m not a fan of the Braves or any Atlanta sports teams, but if you think that Atlanta is a medium sized city you are out of your mind. Its the 9th largest metropolitan area in the US and the only major city in GA. People travel from all over the state to visit Atlanta’s sports venues and enjoy their favorite teams. Your statement about Turner Field indicates that you have probably never been there. Its a horrible stadium, in a logistically bad location and not to mention a very “bad” and potentially dangerous part of town. There has been no community build up around the stadium (no bars, restaurants or shops). Because of these factors the Braves do not draw. The area selected for this new stadium is all the things that Turner Field and its current location are not. It makes for an actual destination to go to for a game and it is logistically perfect at the intersection of I-285 and I-75. The Atlanta Falcons are paying for 75% of their new stadium which is desperately needed. While the Georgia Dome is only 25 years old, it was poorly constructed and lacks any of the interesting architectural aspects of current stadiums. It also is in a logistically horibble location and has failed to produce a surrounding community, it is not a fun destination and the stadium is cavernous. It lacks any sense of home field advantage. The NFL has required that the City and the team build a new stadium that is “open air” if they are to be awarded a Super Bowl in the future. Atlanta is an extremly popular destination for conventions and is very common retirement home for athletes from all major sports. It makes a fantastic location for the Super Bowl and the College Football Championship.

      • NatsLady - Nov 11, 2013 at 11:14 AM

        Interesting. Makes you wonder about Atlanta politicians. All of the same things could have been said about the location of Nats Park (except it’s not difficult to access), but the city made an aggressive push to build up the neighborhood around the stadium. As a result, you have a mix of the old (“project type housing”, vacant lots) with the new (high rises, upscale bars/restaurants, etc.) The old is getting gradually pushed out, though, and in ten years it won’t look anything like it did when Nats Park first opened.

      • Francisco (FC) - Nov 11, 2013 at 12:02 PM

        I assume you mean Cumberland and not Forest Park next to the airport. I was looking at Google Maps and initially failed to notice that the 285 was a “circuit” highway that enclosed the city.

      • bravojawja - Nov 11, 2013 at 1:42 PM

        I find it hard to believe you live in the Atlanta metro. About the only thing you get right is the size of the city.

        There is nothing wrong with Turner Field. It’s only 17 years old, for crying out loud. It isn’t in a bad part of town. It is logistically just fine – easy access to the Connector and I-20, plus a MARTA stop in walking distance and MARTA shuttles from the Five Points station. It even has a great view of the downtown skyline. Wealthy Grant Park is also walking distance. There are expansive fields of parking lot (including what used to be Fulton County Stadium) for all you OTPers who are afraid of MARTA. Want bars, restaurants, and shops near the stadium? Take MARTA so those fields of asphalt aren’t needed.

        The new location is a traffic hellhole. The intersection of 285/75 is the most heavily-traveled in the entire state, and adding 41,000 cars during rush hour won’t help that a whole lot. There is no transit available whatsoever, mainly because the God-fearing folks in Cobb County won’t allow it. The Cobb Energy Center is surrounded by parking lots (sound familiar?). That area is only a destination if you have a meeting at the Galleria or are obsessed with The Walking Dead (the Cobb Energy Center stood in for the CDC at the end of Season 1).

        The same arguments can be made for the Georgia Dome. It’s perfectly fine and easily accessible. In fact, it is easier than the new site, which is just south of the current Dome – in the same neighborhood, essentially the same location except for the lack of a direct MARTA line. Maybe the new place will sell out every week like the current Dome and give that home field advantage 71,000 fans give.

      • watchdawg1103 - Nov 11, 2013 at 2:42 PM

        I work and live right here off I-75 and I-285 and all I see will be the traffic nightmare. Location will be in an area a bit safer with a lot more businesses nearby that will benefit such as restaurants and bars. But the major advantage the current location has is MARTA. Lack of that will mean you basically have to drive to the game. Traffic here is already stand still from at least 4:30-6:30/7 pm. Imagine how it will be with thousands of Braves fans traveling to the area.

  2. mybrunoblog - Nov 11, 2013 at 9:20 AM

    Calcaterra is right. Wow! I’ve visited Turner Field and I thought it was terrific. This is shocking. I hope no public $ goes into constructing the new ballpark as the Braves are leaving a perfectly serviceable ballpark that’s less than 20 years old.

  3. kicksave1980 - Nov 11, 2013 at 9:21 AM

    Wow. I hope that this doesn’t set a precident of teams ditching stadiums after only 20 years. I’m on the fence about using public money on stadiums, but giving an owner only 2 decades between holding a city hostage for a new building is crazy. Not saying that’s what the Braves are doing here, but it opens the door to a slippery slope. There’s nothing wrong with Turner Field, and if some fans won’t go a little out of their way to get to a game now, what makes you think they’d go to a new park? There’s always going to be an excuse not to go.

    • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Nov 11, 2013 at 9:27 AM

      I’m on the fence about using public money on stadiums,

      There’s zero reason to use public money for a team’s stadium. They never return the value put into them by the public, and the public is often left dealing with the financial aftermaths of cost overruns, missed payments and defaults.

      • thatstinks - Nov 11, 2013 at 1:53 PM

        Thats exactly why the Braves are moving to Cobb Co . The city of Atlanta said it wouldn’t use tax money on giving Turner Field a facelift . Apparently the Braves wanted 200 million and the city wouldn’t bite . What makes it interesting is there will be a backlash from the suburbanites in Cobb Co who scream about lower taxes on the regular .

      • jwbiii - Nov 11, 2013 at 6:55 PM

        Liberty Media owns the Braves. Liberty Media has a market cap of $17b.

        Anyone who suggests that Liberty Media is in need of welfare while Cobb County is reducing their number of teachers and furloughing other county employees

        is, well, it’s difficult for me to come up with words that won’t get my post nannied.

  4. churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Nov 11, 2013 at 9:26 AM

    but that speaks to the nature and popularity of baseball in Atlanta — and a bit about Atlanta geography and demographics — not the ballpark.

    And don’t forget the weather. Or paraphrasing Lewis Black who said, “you know it’s hot when, after walking around for 5 minutes during the summer you think, I should have put deodorant on my balls.”

  5. dondada10 - Nov 11, 2013 at 9:42 AM

    Does it bother anybody that 1996 was almost 20 years ago?

    • robmoore - Nov 11, 2013 at 9:51 AM

      I had a friend asking on Facebook about good, old movies that they should check out. Someone mentioned a movie that came out while I was in college – (’84 to ’88). I was like, that’s not an old movie… oh, wait…

      • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Nov 11, 2013 at 10:10 AM

        Not sure what was worse, the fact that the “oldies radio station” here in Charlotte played November Rain, or the fact that it came out in ’92

    • proudlycanadian - Nov 11, 2013 at 9:55 AM

      1996 was not that long ago. I still remember 1967, the last year the Leafs won the Stanley Cup. It seems like yesterday. A kid I knew in high school was on that team. 1996 was the year that Donovan Bailey won the 100 metre dash and Canada won the 4 by 100 relay. We have not produced a great sprinter since.

      • nothanksimdriving123 - Nov 11, 2013 at 5:13 PM

        Proudly: Not trying to play “top this” BUT… I was at the game at MLG when they won #3 in a row, in ’64. Saw #2 on TV, but wasn’t allowed to stay up late enough to see the ’62 victory in Chicago. I should sue my parents for that. Clearly child abuse.

      • proudlycanadian - Nov 11, 2013 at 6:43 PM

        Darn right it was child abuse!

    • Chipmaker - Nov 11, 2013 at 11:07 AM

      The Braves have been resident at Turner Field for 17 seasons. Offering that that tenure is “almost 20” is akin to saying a team that won 85 games “almost won 100”.

      Turner Field is not nearly long in the tooth as ballparks go. This is without precedent, or at least I cannot think of any within MLB’s purview.

    • km9000 - Nov 11, 2013 at 4:42 PM

      It’s almost 2015, and the gap between then and ’85 will be the same as between ’85 and ’55.

      And yet, I’m sure any time travellers from ’85 will be kinda disappointed…

  6. manifunk - Nov 11, 2013 at 9:42 AM

    Makes a ton of sense looking at the demographics/geography of Atlanta. Marietta/Buckhead has a ton of wealth, and in order for those folks to get to the Ted they have to navigate the hellish I-75 corridor or 285 southbound. By heading north the Barves are moving closer to wealth.

    For perspective:

    Fulton Co. Median Income: $57k
    Cobb Co. Median Income: $65k

    Sucks to see a team move out of a stadium after such a short duration, but as much as we disparage the Barves on here I bet they have done a ton of research and believe this will draw more, and wealthier, individuals to games.

    • convincedofthehex - Nov 11, 2013 at 10:05 AM

      It’s one of the reasons the Rays don’t draw as well as they should. The stadium is too far from the central population area. Makes sense to me.

    • superturtle611 - Nov 11, 2013 at 10:31 AM

      I bet you they don’t care one bit about drawing more fans. Well not for the sake of drawing more fans. They weighed all options based on which puts the most money in their pockets and if that means picking the option that puts more people in the seats then that is just coincidence and a good PR angle later down the road.

    • bravojawja - Nov 11, 2013 at 10:43 AM

      You’re not from here, are you?

      to get to the Ted they have to navigate the hellish I-75 corridor or 285 southbound
      So now they’ll have to navigate that same corridor northbound, which is horrifically bad during rush hour, when folks go to games.

      There is no transit in Cobb County. While MARTA may be a hike to the Ted, there are shuttle buses.

      • chc4 - Nov 11, 2013 at 10:47 AM

        You forgot the part about how those that attend Brave games will now be 20 miles closer to home in Cobb County. The Braves fan base is far more centered north of the city than south. This is smart move by the Braves. Living on the north side I would not even consider a weekday game at Turner Field.

      • bravojawja - Nov 11, 2013 at 10:54 AM

        If you live OTP, then you should understand that it isn’t about the distance as the crow flies. It’s the aggravation and the time in the car. And you will have to take your car, along with the 41,000 other people who won’t have any access to public transit whatsoever.

        You have fun sitting on the Perimeter at 5:00 trying to get home because people are having to get to Cobb early to get to the game before first pitch.

  7. ddmcd1974 - Nov 11, 2013 at 9:45 AM

    Church that’s a silly statement. You state that only because you don’t like public financing. Don’t try to back you stance with real facts just throw slit at the wall and hope knuckleheads on the board believe you. Show me the financials you are using to come to the fact based conclusion that you blurted out here.

    • gbrim - Nov 11, 2013 at 9:59 AM

      Mr ddmcd1974, you criticized church for his opinion stated without any facts, stated that he was looking for support of ‘knuckleheads’, then offered no facts of your own in reply. Not exactly an overpowering argument on your part either.

    • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Nov 11, 2013 at 10:08 AM

      Are you serious? I’m stating my opinion because there’s been zero proof that publicly financing a stadium provides any long term benefit to the city. Let’s look at the most recent example of public funds being used to help a billionaire pay for a stadium, the city of Detroit. Now, the city of Detroit just declared bankruptcy. This city also has helped pay for a new Tiger’s Stadium (2000) and new Lion’s Stadium (2002). Now Red Wings Owner (and Tiger’s owner) Mike Illitch is getting over $300M of public funds to help pay for a new Red Wings arena.

      Where’s the benefit? If new stadiums are so great for the public, wouldn’t two stadiums be even better? Why is Detroit declaring bankruptcy then?

      This is just one city. Never mind places like NY where the Yanks parking garage has already defaulted on loans to the city, and that stadium was just built a couple years ago. Or how about Cincinnati where the town the Bengals stadium is in has to sell a hospital to keep up on it’s loan payments (

      • tywebb76 - Nov 11, 2013 at 10:26 AM

        You aregument is inaccurate. Detroit’s stadiums were not funded by the city, but funded; and only partially funded by the state . The area around those stadiums is the only part of the city that is currently thriving with restaurants and theaters. The city of Detroit is bankrupt because of 40 years of corrupt liberal government, not because of the financing of 2 stadiums.

        The public funds (25% of the total cost) for the new football stadium in Atlanta are being paid for by a hospitality tax, it is not being paid for by the city, it is being paid for by the city’s visitors. By law this tax cannot be used for any other purpose, so any argument that those funds could be better utilized somewhere else would be misinformed. A new baseball stadium in the suburbs of Atlanta will likely be funded in the exact same way.

      • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Nov 11, 2013 at 10:49 AM

        Detroit’s stadiums were not funded by the city, but funded; and only partially funded by the state .

        Ford Field opened in 2002 at a cost of $430 million, about 36 percent of which came from direct public financing, according to a report from the National Sports Law Institute at Marquette University.

        Public financing: $115 million, or 38 percent, from 2 percent rental-car tax and 1 percent hotel tax, and money from Indian casino revenue

        No public funds huh?

        The public funds (25% of the total cost) for the new football stadium in Atlanta are being paid for by a hospitality tax, it is not being paid for by the city, it is being paid for by the city’s visitors.

        I don’t want any public funds used to pay for billionaire’s private investments. Whether it’s bonds or increases in taxes, it’s still publicly paid for.

      • jm91rs - Nov 11, 2013 at 10:56 AM

        Ok, how about Cincinnati? Hamilton County gave the Reds and Bengals stadiums. Currently the county is in danger of defaulting on the payments for the stadiums. They’ve sold some pretty valuable assets, hundreds of county employees have been cut in an effort to save money. Both teams threatened to leave town and used that to get amazing deals. The county has to pay for upgrades to the stadiums for the life of the lease (new $10M scoreboards coming soon for Paul Brown Stadium), and the county will still be paying on the 2 stadiums when the lease is up and the teams want something new.
        To top all of this off, the county commissioner that pushed this deal onto voters (saying a modest sales tax increase for a few years would cover the costs) left his commissioner job and has a cushy gig working for Bengals owner Mike Brown. Any city that ignores cases like Cincinnati and Miami by voting to finance these billionaires’ playgrounds deserves what they get at this point.

  8. manifunk - Nov 11, 2013 at 9:54 AM

    Baseball White Flight.jpg

    • manifunk - Nov 11, 2013 at 9:55 AM

      Whoops here’s a link:

  9. danandcasey - Nov 11, 2013 at 10:01 AM

    As a baseball fan and a resident of East Cobb County, let me just say “woo-hoo”! As someone who works in midtown Atlanta and must drive home past the already-incredibly-backed-up I-75/I-285 intersection, let me just say “#@!?$#@.”

  10. dacty4491 - Nov 11, 2013 at 10:02 AM

    Want to know why the Braves are moving? Check out the map at the bottom of the page in this Deadspin article.

    • Pierre Cruzatte - Nov 11, 2013 at 10:09 AM

      Yes and no. This map shows why they are really moving up there. (African Americans are green dots.)

      • Francisco (FC) - Nov 11, 2013 at 2:42 PM

        Hoy many dots per inch?

  11. gmagic9044 - Nov 11, 2013 at 10:07 AM is the site if you are interested in learning more on why the Braves feel the need to move. Big reason appears to be location and the “hundreds of millions of dollars” in repairs needed at the Ted.

  12. kane337 - Nov 11, 2013 at 10:10 AM

    Smart move by the Braves. Most of their season ticket holders reside north of Atlanta. Many were not inclined to drive to south Atlanta to the ghetto to watch a game on a consistent basis.

  13. kane337 - Nov 11, 2013 at 10:14 AM

    The Braves don’t own Turner field. The stadium was given to the city after the Olympics. Turner field needs over $100 million in upgrades. The city was not in position to assist. Braves will now own their own stadium and reap in the extra money that comes with it. This puts the Braves in position to better compete financially.

  14. babyfarkmcgeezax - Nov 11, 2013 at 10:24 AM

    Interesting. Craig harps almost daily about the Cleveland Indians’ use of Native American imagery, yet here he posts something about the Braves and chooses to use an image that includes Native American imagery in the Braves logo. The double standard continues.

    • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Nov 11, 2013 at 10:56 AM

      Yeah, you’ve missed the point completely. But keep harping on…

    • zzalapski - Nov 11, 2013 at 12:25 PM

      baby’s commentary in this regard is consistent like a leaky faucet. And just as drippy.

  15. MyTeamsAllStink - Nov 11, 2013 at 10:40 AM

    Now if only the Oakland A’s could do this in San Jose or Las Vegas perhaps?

  16. jadaruler - Nov 11, 2013 at 11:07 AM

    Wouldn’t be shocked if the Texas Rangers don’t become the Dallas Rangers in Frisco with a dome by 2020.

  17. 6stn - Nov 11, 2013 at 11:27 AM

    I thought Turner Field was about the only new ballpark that didn’t look like a retro-baseball- amusement park. Seemed like a good place to watch a ballgame.

  18. pastabelly - Nov 11, 2013 at 12:00 PM

    Sorry to those from Atlanta for my reference as a medium sized city. Hard to believe the growth since I graduated from Emory in 82. However , it has always been fair to question Atlanta’s support of its professional sports teams. I also agree that Washington’s team is in a rough area, but the Metro does get out there. Fenway Park is a huge pain for anyone not west of Boston.

  19. mannyicey - Nov 11, 2013 at 12:05 PM

    I simply cannot believe how incredibly dumb and short-sighted this idea has been- especially when I heard it the first thing in the morning! At first, I thought it was a joke. I thought that it was April Fools’ or that I was still asleep and dreaming of something crazy again.

    But when I read it in the paper, I started laughing out loud! Here’s why:

    1. Cobb County must want people to leave Cobb County! I mean, have you ever driven to 75/285 Interchange during rush hour? I live in the county and we plan our day around getting away from that traffic! So now you want to drop a baseball stadium there???

    Let me tell you- 285 is a 12-lane highway with 6 lanes on either side. The Cobb Cloverleaf to get to 75 can be around 2 lanes. You see why there’s a bottleneck? You’re going to have to expand the Cobb cloverleaf in order to get that amount of traffic to go through with any amount of smoothness. I mean, traffic’s bad now. Imagine another hour!

    2. Gonna need some Light-Rail! Currently, Cobb County has this public transit system called “CCT.” What this is is a series of buses that’s on an already busy street. There’s no rapid rail because they made the decision not to have those who normally ride the rails to have the convenience of it while commuting to Cobb County. Oh, and the buses doesn’t run on Sundays because, you know; you don’t want those who would ride the bus to get to church on Sunday to have that kind of convenience.

    But you want to see a real, hot mess? Let’s imagine the maze of the traffic going to the ballgame peppered with these buses! LOL!

    See right now, baseball fans can ride MARTA from certain locations and get close. Cobb County? No MARTA!

    3. Who’s going to pay for it??? If you think in your widest imaginations that Cobb County’s going to pay hardly ANYTHING for that stadium, you’re insane! See, Cobb County is a seat of power for the Republican Party and is a big political base for the Tea Party. Go ahead and try to raise taxes for a stadium. C’mon! You haven’t seen political activism yet until you try to raise tax rates in Cobb County. Here, it’s a moral failure to raise taxes. So you’re gonna have to do something else besides raising taxes in order to pay for it because that just won’t fly out here.

  20. jpl9 - Nov 11, 2013 at 1:13 PM

    What should we call the new team, the Marietta ShotGuns?
    I live north of the perimeter in Fulton County and avoid 285/75 because it is a traffic nightmare. Although I only attend one or two games a season, I use Marta. The transit system is convenient to where I live and there are buses for the extra mile. The move has nothing to do with traffic congestion and everything to do with money.

  21. louhudson23 - Nov 11, 2013 at 2:04 PM

    Corporate Welfare is a helluva drug….Must be the Trickle Down they spray on it….

  22. spacemaker101 - Nov 11, 2013 at 2:45 PM

    Imagine how sick the stadium is gonna be.. They better put another Waffle House in that junk too

  23. nothanksimdriving123 - Nov 11, 2013 at 5:15 PM

    This move sounds weird, but I don’t really care where they play as long as the ditch the vile “chop” and accompanying vile music.

  24. mikeevergreen - Nov 11, 2013 at 5:24 PM

    More sports welfare in a state that cannot afford to educate its children, even without unionized teachers.

    Welcome to Georgia.

    • gloccamorra - Nov 11, 2013 at 9:36 PM

      Georgia is ranked 26th in teachers’ salaries, and seventh in test scores. California is ranked 4th in teachers’ salaries and 35th in test scores. Did you get the quote, “a state that cannot afford to educate its children” from the teachers’ union?

      • mannyicey - Nov 12, 2013 at 10:03 AM

        I saw that report from last year, but it’s misleading. The report was from the Quality Counts statistics from Education Week back in Nov. 2012. They gave Geogia a 7th Place ranking, but there are issues:

        They say that Georgia was really highly ranked because of superior standards and accountability. Plus, it’s earned really high marks for early education, economy and workforce. Sounds fantastic, right?

        But in the same report, Georgia ranked near the bottom in k-12 achievement and low marks for spending. So while we have strong standards, Georgia doesn’t really ACHIEVE great results. That’s why our graduation rates aren’t as good as many other states, like say- California. See, in November, Georgia graduates 67% of all students. That puts us as the 2nd worst in the South (Kentucky is the worst.) We are 6% higher in graduation rates than the Bureau of Indian Reservations. Yes, it’s very bad!

        So that’s why people are looking at corporate welfare in this state as atrocious. Think about it: they sell CEOs to come to Georgia and they will pay for their kids education with the HOPE scholarship. Then, they’ll give so many tax breaks that they can basically get their office buildings for free. Then they change the laws to where you can fire someone for any reason without penalty. And they try hard to reduce unemployment and eliminate union power.

        Meanwhile, 37% of our students aren’t graduating. The HOPE scholarship is getting more difficult to achieve for those who have less means. The minimum wage is under the federal level (still $5.15 per hour, if you can believe it!) And there are no subsidies to start a business specifically for small businesses.

        And that’s the problem.

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