The Atlanta Braves look like they’ll be joining the Falcons in getting a new stadium — at almost half the cost. That’s right, $672 million for the ballpark as compared to the nearly $1 billion estimated price tag for the new Georgia Dome. So why is everyone complaining?
For starters, the Falcons stadium will be in downtown Atlanta, while the Braves new home looks like it’ll be somewhere where The Walking Dead takes place. Seriously, the proposed location is not part of any city. CAAAAARRRRLLLLLL!!
(Though it will be in the geographic center of where Braves fans are believed to live.)
More importantly, how are they going pay for it? Two giant stadiums in as many years would be an equally giant strain on municipal budgets. Pro sports franchise owners are notorious for acting like these things will not cost taxpayers anything, until of course, the project actually costs taxpayers something. The track record of new stadiums has Atlantans worried — and rightfully so. Here’s what the Braves’ new stadium website says:
[Home Of The Braves] The Braves will pay a significant amount of the expense of the new stadium, both in upfront costs and throughout the term of the lease. The exact number is being finalized with officials from Cobb County. At no time in our discussions with Cobb County, or any other municipality, have the Braves referenced a $450 million public investment. Reports of this figure are erroneous. When the final deal points are reached, they will be shared with the public and the media.
Ok, so it’s going to be privately funded for the most part. But here’s what Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed said in a statement regarding the new place going somewhere in Cobb County:
[Atlanta.gov] It is my understanding that our neighbor, Cobb County, made a strong offer of $450M in public support to the Braves and we are simply unwilling to match that with taxpayer dollars.
Soooooo it is or it isn’t going to be publicly funded? Not sure, though if history is any indication, the answer is clear. You’re paying for it, Georgia. Renderings are expected in the near future.