This is one of those ‘big picture’ situations that is all about business and really, broad stroke public relations. For those outside the metro Atlanta area or the world of MLB, let me let some headlines do the talking.
Introducing Your Marietta Braves
Braves plan to build new stadium in Cobb. Come 2017 the Atlanta Braves will leave the 20-year young Turner Field for a new, smaller stadium outside the city in a blah blah marketing retail entertainment venue blah. For better or worse: it was a case of money, concessions, debates with the City of Atlanta, traffic and transportation, noise about downtown Atlanta, catering to the fans and a thousand other factors.
Without delving too deeply into the politics, I don’t care for the move. Neither does former owner Ted Turner.
By the by, I live not too far from the proposed area; the traffic is already nigh unto the 3rd circle of hell. A couple of new off-ramps to already overcrowded interstates won’t cut it. I still have not read anything that details the giganormous undertaking it will be to improve roads, parking, much less provide adequate mass transportation to the new facility. (If I’m wrong and plans do exist, please correct me.)
By the by, I have not talked with any fans happy with the move. Not one. Even though it’s closer to home – for some – they’re not interested in what they expect to be a traffic and logistic nightmare, an area of overpriced retail and so-so entertainment.
- The city of the Braves: it’s gotta be about the money. See also, Cobb County showing them the money so they can see some money for their hotels and restaurants.
- The city of Atlanta: not welcome, not wanted. Lots of stories, proposals and blather; ending in the Ted will be leveled in 2017.
- The city of Fans: The fans that are supposed to benefit from this move are sprawled across 30+ counties in the metro area; even if most are from the northern ‘burbs, they still have a long haul to get to new Big Corporate Money Park. Then there are those attendees from out of state – the same ones doing the downtown Georgia Aquarium and other city attractions (see below).
I don’t really know what to say.* I hope I’m wrong, but I got five bucks that says after the initial thrall has faded, it’s back to a half-empty stadium. And the new retail area might well become Cobb’s own Underground Atlanta.
It’s not too late?
This last weekend, an historic downtown Atlanta church held its last service. To make way for a new Falcons stadium, partially funded by the City of Atlanta. To sum up: the area north of the middle aged Georgia Dome didn’t quite address the parking and transit issues well enough for their well-attended downtown Atlanta games, so the Falcons are moving south of their current location. Then will level the Dome in 2017.
So. There’s apparently two large areas available: 1) the current area north of the dome – the one the Falcons passed on; and in 2017, 2) the site of the Dome itself, what with its built-in public transit access (the lack of which allegedly a major shortfall of the soon-to-be-rubble Ted). Why can’t the Braves build a new baseball stadium there?!
Tie in the two adjacent sports facilities to the already popular Aquarium, World of Carbonated Yumminess, with the soon to open Civil Rights Museum and College Football Hall of Fame along the Olympic Park corridor. The Braves and Falcons don’t overlap games that often; surely schedules could be coordinated to make the most of the parking facilities, maximize the public transportation system.
More importantly, the Braves would still tap into the Downtown Atlanta visitor market. Years ago, I attended an opening day game that was a sell out – thanks to thousands of fans in town for the Final Four at the Dome.
IDK. I’m biased. I think a city’s identity is tied to its center, its workers, its public spaces. It’s a shame the powers that be didn’t work this out — for the fans its sports teams, fans of this city.
Ok Atlanta, let me hear it. Love the idea of the move? Hate it? Is football really the difference maker, or is there another reason the Falcons are sticking with downtown while the Braves are fleeing to the suburbs?