FoS also echoes my sentiment that a $400+ million subsidy package could be a bumpy road for conservative Cobb Co., and there's still great mystery over where the majority of the $672 million is going to come from. In short, "a really crappy deal," in the opinion of blog author Neil deMause.
Oh, did we mention Cobb Co. had to recently reduce its school staffing and furlough teachers because of budget shortfalls and faces another $60 million defecit next year?
However, it was refreshing to see Atlanta mayor Kasim Reed say, “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."
But part of the head-scratching nature of the announcement is the team's blame on Turner Field's "insurmountable" traffic and parking problems. So naturally, they're moving to an area with fewer transit options and arguably worse traffic. Granted, they'll be closer to more ticket-buying fans, but it's a far cry from baseball's urban stadium model, built with transit and walkability in mind.
It must have just been a financial deal too good to be true (for the Braves). Forbes' Mike Ozonian speculates the Braves might even cover their entire portion of the bill with a good naming rights deal (although doubtful, given financing costs).
And for those of you counting at home, Turner Field is just the 16th-oldest park in the majors. Sports Illustrated theorizes:
Meanwhile, 13 current major league venues have been in service longer than Turner Field, seven of which opened from 1989-95. If some of those teams start getting restless and looking to build again, local taxpayers could be asked to replace the perfectly functional single-use ballparks that in turn had replaced less aesthetically pleasing multi-use facilities whose lifespans were much longer. Particularly as teams reap a new windfall with increased television revenues, that’s not going to go over well with fans.