The Atlanta Braves are building a new stadium in the suburbs. That’s right they are moving. But this time they are not moving to a new city, like they have from Boston and Milwaukee. They are moving to the suburbs of Atlanta in Cobb County.
Team President, John Schuerholz, and the Atlanta Braves announced on Monday that they had been in talks with the Cobb Marietta Coliseum and Exhibit Hall Authority since July concerning building a new stadium. What makes the announcement so stunning is the fact that the Braves are in a relatively young stadium now.
Turner Field, their current home, was originally built in 1996 to host the Summer Olympics. After the Olympics, the Braves turned the Olympic Stadium into a state of the art baseball field. Many in the industry still consider the stadium to be one of the most updated in MLB.
So why start fresh? Well according to a website launched alongside of Monday’s announcement, the Braves organization do not own Turner Field and their lease runs out in 2016. At that point, the Braves will have called Turner Field home for 20 years. The major reason for moving is the cost associated with updating the current stadium. Estimated costs for needed improvements will total about $150 million. Schuerholz says these improvements will do nothing to enhance the current stadium, only fix and update what already exists.
The new stadium located in Cobb County, a suburb of Atlanta, will be located on the Northwest side of the intersection of I-75 and 1-285. Anyone who has been to Turner Field knows that parking, transit, and traffic have always been a major issue. The Braves are hoping that proper planning will allow them to create better access to the stadium. MARTA, Atlanta’s public transit system, is currently the primary means of travel to get to Turner Field. MARTA does not run to Cobb County and some are concerned that this could create issues for current ticket holders.
Another major factor in the move to a new stadium for the Braves is a more affluent community. Cobb County is home to many of the Atlanta area’s more financially well off citizens. It is a very calculated move by the Braves.