Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Braves Stadium Fallout: Day 3

More expert opinions from the world of sports business on the Braves' new home...

Maury Brown with the Biz of Baseball writes everyone in Atlanta loses, except the Braves:
The problem with Cobb Co.’s investment is after construction it’s not like Atlanta is getting “new” money. All that’s happened is jobs and fans move 10 miles away from where it was originally. You’re just shuffling descretionary income around. This isn’t infusing economic development, it’s shuffling it around.
Maybe Cobb Co. has some magical formula that will have all the expenses come from baseball related revenue streams. That would be fair. After all, someone in Cobb Co. that doesn’t care one hoot about the Braves shouldn’t have to pay for them. So, ties a tax onto parking. Tie a tax onto tickets. Tie a tax onto ballpark concessions. Tie it to the ballpark. That’s fair. It may have fans shaking their fists at me for suggesting as much, but it’s reasonable.

As for “The Ted”, it will be demolished shortly after its 21st birthday. That was a solid investment.
Neil deMause writes on SportsOnEarth that taxpayers should hold on to their wallets:
Today, 16 of the other 29 MLB stadiums are newer than the Braves' home, and it's sports nature to want the shiny things the kid next door has -- something that was foreshadowed back in April when team execs dropped hints that they'd like some upgrades to their current home, and would prefer it if they were paid for by, you know, somebody else.
While the White Sox, Indians, and the like may not be able to find suburban counties quite so eager to throw money at them, the Braves' move does provide them with a great new storyline for subsidy shakedowns. Baseball, after all, has found itself in a bit of a threat shortage: Ever since the Montreal Expos occupied Washington, D.C., in 2005, MLB teams have lacked a big, empty market to frighten local officials with, as the NFL has successfully done with Los Angeles. (The best vacant market for MLB is almost certainly now -- irony alert -- Montreal.) Now, though, teams can gesture vaguely in the direction of Atlanta, or just show up to lease talks carrying one of those foam tomahawks, and everyone will get the message: Make us happy or we'll split for the suburbs.
Just remember - the Braves are moving not because they had to, but because they could.  As long as cities and counties are going to continue to trip over themselves to offer (virtually) free stadiums, we'll won't be seeing many teams staying in one place for more than 30 years.

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