The Atlanta Braves announced yesterday that they are building a new $625 million publicly subsidized stadium in Cobb County, an Atlanta suburb, in time for the 2017 season.
The team's current park, Turner Field, has been home to the Braves since 1997 and is in need of major infrastructure repair. The new stadium is slated to have roughly 10,000 less seats than Turner Field.
There is, of course, a certain irony in the move, as the team is relocating further away from its namesake. The team posted a map on their website that overlays the location of their fans with the spots of the current and new stadiums.
As Rembert Browne writes on Grantland, "If you're a fan who lives in these suburban areas, today is a great day. It has long been a hassle to get to Turner Field — because it involves going all the way to Atlanta to see the Atlanta Braves." The move also goes against an overall trend of MLB stadiums moving closer to city centers.
But there's something to be said for going to watch a baseball game downtown, as Tommy Tomlinson points out in Forbes:
"...all the great new baseball parks built in the last 20 years (Baltimore, Pittsburgh, Cincinnati, San Francisco) have made their urban location part of what makes them great. You get to see the skyline. It feels like you're somewhere. Cobb County could be anywhere."
And what happens to the giant space vacated by the team? The Brave's prior stadium, Atlanta-Fulton County Stadium, was demolished in 1997, and became a parking lot for the new Turner Field, adapted from the 1996 Summer Olympics stadium. Kevin McGuire suggests restoring the existing Turner Field to the Centennial Olympic Stadium design to host college football.