Speaking of the Atlanta Braves moving to suburban Cobb County, it finally seems to have dropped out of the top of the headlines, if only for the reason that there’s only so much you can say about a deal where nobody’s talking about how it would actually work. There are still a few people working odd corners of the story, though (including me), so let’s get to it:
- Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed has announced plans to demolish Turner Field in 2017 once the Braves have moved out, to make way for what the Atlanta Journal Constitution calls “a new large-scale development.” Of something. But whatever it is, you’ll love it, just you see.
- Officials in Cobb County say getting the Braves will be just awesome, because even though they’ll still be the Atlanta Braves and will play just outside the Atlanta city limits and everyone will arrive by car and then drive back out again because Cobb County doesn’t believe in public transit, “this makes Cobb’s marketability so much stronger, and it helps us become more than a suburban community,” according to Brooks Mathis of the Cobb Chamber of Commerce.
- The AJC’s Greg Bluestein and Jim Galloway report that (no named source, but presumably coming from someone with the Braves) “at one of their meetings this spring, we’re told, [Atlanta city COO Hans] Utz looked at a frustrated [Braves VP] Plant and said, ‘It’s not as if you can move anywhere.’ … That encounter, we’re told, is what set Plant’s competitive juices flowing and prompted the outreach to Cobb County.” If true, it seems in retrospect to have been a hasty challenge by Utz, but really, the guy deserves props for trying to use what leverage he had — nobody in the world could have anticipated that Cobb would drop a gift stadium on the Braves like this.
- Forbes’ Michael Ozanian points out that if the Braves are putting up $200 million toward a stadium and they sell naming rights for $10 million a year over 20 years, they’ll get the stadium for free, if you can use 20 years of $10 million payments to pay off $200 million in expense now, which you can’t. But hey, cool headline.
- And finally, I take to the pages of Sports on Earth to look at whether the Braves’ move is likely to launch a renewed wave of subsidy demands by other teams with stadiums approaching drinking age, like the Chicago White Sox, Cleveland Indians, Baltimore Orioles, and Colorado Rockies. My conclusion, for those who can’t be bothered to click through: Probably not, since the Braves’ situation is kind of special, but you’d have to be crazy to think that other teams aren’t going to use “Hey, we could move to the suburbs, too, don’t tempt us!” as a stick with which to shake down their current homes for some renovation money.
I’d write more, but I have to go on Brian Kenny’s radio show right now to talk more about this. Maybe a bit later.