Braves’ Stadium update

Last night, the Cobb County Commissioners voted unanimously to approve the new stadium deal for the Atlanta Braves. The stadium is expected to cost between $620-670 million. The county will finance the majority of that money by borrowing it, though it will also charge rent to the Braves. All told, according to Neil deMause (who, as I’ve said before is *the* guy on stadium issues), the Braves will end up putting up a little over half the costs. In exchange, they will receive 100% of the revenue from the stadium, including parking. Yes, 100%.

One of the deal’s sweeteners was supposed to be the development of land adjacent to the stadium, to benefit business and the county more generally. It turns out, though, that the Braves are not obligated to invest in that additional development at all.

In a further stirring victory for democracy, the commissioners only allowed 12 people to sign up to speak at the hearing before the vote, scheduled for 7pm last night. Stadium supporters got there to fill up all the slots by 2pm. When some opponents asked for more slots so that they could voice dissent, they were removed by police for being disruptive.

Finally and again according to deMause, Braves’ GM John Scheuerholtz reportedly said last week that it was a good thing the deal was negotiated in secret, because had some of the details become public, there might have been more of a backlash.

Professional sports franchises have it rough.


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