I’ve just returned from the site of the proposed mixed-use development/stadium/cash cow/clusterfuck, where I’ve been gathering reaction for the local organ. A few thoughts:
Selfishly, I hate the move. I live five miles from The Ted. I can leave my house and be in my seat within 30 minutes. Besides, sports teams belong in cities, and the Braves belong in Atlanta.
Atlanta’s political leaders deserve much of the blame, however. Kasim Reed sold out to Arthur Blank while his predecessors neglected the area around Turner Field and eschewed a MARTA extension to the Ted so they could collect more parking revenue.
Reed’s reaction to today’s news was comical.
We have been working very hard with the Braves for a long time, and at the end of the day, 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.
It is my understanding that our neighbor, Cobb County, made a strong offer of of $450M in public support to the Braves and we are simply unwilling to match that with taxpayer dollars.
Given the needs facing our city and the impact of Turner Field stadium on surrounding neighborhoods, that was something I, and many others were unwilling to do.
But $200 million for a new Falcons stadium, with only 10 home dates a year, is okay?
Speaking of blame, would this be happening if the unidentified clown from Time Warner hadn’t negotiated the worst local TV contract in sports?
Supporters of the move say it’ll allow the Braves to keep the likes of Jay Hey and Freddie. But who’s to say Liberty Media will put the money into talent? Already we’ve learned that the team will be adding no more than $10 million to next year’s payroll despite receiving $25 million from baseball’s new national TV deal.
And you can bet ticket prices will increase dramatically.
Still, I understand the Braves’ decision. That doesn’t mean I have to like it.