Bucking Trends, Atlanta's Baseball Team Decamps for the Suburbs

After playing just 17 seasons at downtown Atlanta's Turner Field, which was built for the 1996 Olympics, the city's baseball team is giving up their urban home for a new stadium 14 miles northwest of the city.

"The Braves will leave downtown Atlanta for suburban Cobb County, after a scant 20 years in Turner Field," writes Angie Schmitt. "The team chose the nexus of two highways 13.5 miles north of their current stadium as the site for a new ballpark. According to Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed, Cobb County offered $450 million in public support for the stadium."

Increased highway access, larger parking lots, and a desire to be closer to its car-driving suburban fan base are driving the unorthodox move. According to Reuben Fischer-Baum, writing in Deadspin, of the 18 baseball teams to embark on significant stadium moves over the last 50+ years, "just five took teams farther from their urban core, and, of those five, four were shifts of less than a third of a mile."

"There's been increasing skepticism directed toward public subsidies of professional sports venues in recent years," notes Ryan Holeywell, in Governing. "Almost universally, independent economists say they aren't a good deal for taxpayers and typically don't generate anywhere near the sort of economic impact that team owners and public officials say they do."

"'That seems pretty outlandish, extravagant, stupid -- however you want to describe it,' Dennis Coates, an economics professor at University of Maryland Baltimore County, said upon learning of the deal. 'Not for the Braves. It's a great deal for them. But politicians who go along with that, and then start screaming about fiscal responsibility -- they need to be smacked.'"


Full Story: Cobb County Coughs Up Big $$$ to Help Braves Leave Downtown Atlanta

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