The Atlanta Braves are moving out of Atlanta proper for the first time in team history, and into the Cobb County suburbs starting in 2017. While the fans of the Braves will have their own sentimental reasons for supporting the team staying in Turner Field, the economic and political reasons for the move are also in play.
In a statement by Atlanta mayor Kasim Reed, he states, “There was simply no way the team was going to stay in downtown Atlanta without city taxpayers spending hundreds of millions of dollars to make that happen.” Cobb County offered a monetary contribution of $450 million in public money to help fund the new stadium, also according to Reed.
Economically, the team will be moving a county with an average household income that is nearly $9,000 more than Fulton County, the team’s previous home. The franchise will also sell off naming rights for the stadium. Don’t be surprised when the Braves are playing at Delta Airlines Stadium in 2017. The team will also benefit greatly from remaining on the I-75 route that acts as an artery for fans coming from both the north and the south of the Atlanta area.
There have been a few posts on social media about how the move is apparently “racist” as the area around Turner field is home to increasingly more minorities than before. To the people who subscribe to this theory, it is a conspiracy to take the jobs brought about by the stadium and businesses that thrive on fans away from the minorities and to the whiter suburbs of Marietta. The reality of the matter is that the mayor of Atlanta, a black man, did not want to tax his constituents more than was necessary. With the Falcons already moving stadiums, partially at the taxpayer expense, keeping taxes down should be at the top of the city’s priorities.
The Braves may benefit financially from the move, but as the proposed stadium has 10,000 less seats than Turner Field, it remains to be seen if the move will pay off.