SBD/November 25, 2013/Facilities

Cobb County Official Says Delayed Vote On Braves Ballpark Would Jeopardize Deal

A wide range of revenue streams were selected in financing the ballpark
Cobb County (Ga.) Commission Chair Tim Lee on Saturday said that delaying tomorrow's scheduled vote on financing for the Braves' proposed $672M ballpark "would jeopardize the deal," according to Jon Gillooly of the MARIETTA DAILY JOURNAL. Lee: "It's one of those situations where the longer we drag it out all we do is create more noise and more doubt without any rationale. I just think it's better to move forward with it. It's an economic deal. We have some timing issues we have to deal with in terms of getting a deal moving forward, and I think it's in everybody's interest to move forward" (MARIETTA DAILY JOURNAL, 11/24). Lee said that in developing the financing plan to pay the county's $300M portion of the ballpark, he "selected a wide range of revenue streams to spread out the risk." Lee: "I tried to come up with several different income revenue streams where any one entity wouldn't have a significant burden, and it was also by spreading out the different revenue streams, if one of them had a little bit of a dip and the other one doesn't, it can help smooth it out" (MARIETTA DAILY JOURNAL, 11/24). Meanwhile, in Atlanta, Jim Galloway noted a new ad paid for by business group Revitalize Cobb is now "running on cable outlets." The ad "refers you to the website choptocobb.com," and the site "encourages emails to Cobb County Commissioners encouraging them to vote yes" on the ballpark issue tomorrow (AJC.com, 11/22).

TRAFFIC CONSIDERATIONS: In Atlanta, Andria Simmons reported a comparison of trip times to Turner Field versus the new ballpark location "suggests the weeknight drive to the game for the largest share of Braves fans could be the same or even better" when the new ballpark opens in '17. However, Cobb County officials said that it "will be months before they can complete a traffic study." Georgia Department of Transportation data regarding traffic on various routes showed that for "a lot of fans," driving to the new ballpark on a weeknight "could be quicker than driving to Turner Field." This is particularly true for motorists who "live north of the city, where the heaviest concentration of Braves ticket buyers reside" (ATLANTA JOURNAL-CONSTITUTION, 11/24).

KEEPIN 'EM HONEST
: The JOURNAL-CONSTITUTION's Eric Stirgus noted when the Braves unveiled renderings of the proposed ballpark and adjacent entertainment complex, Braves Exec VP/Business Operations Mike Plant "boasted that no one has embarked on such an ambitious plan." He said at the time, "No one in the country has ever built a brand-new sports facility and created this kind of development at the same time." The Braves are "apparently using this claim as a talking point to sway residents to support the plan," so Stirgus "wondered whether Plant was entirely correct about the scope of what the team wants to accomplish." Braves PR Dir Beth Marshall said, "This is the first time the development and the stadium have been built simultaneously." Stirgus cited developments by the Nets, 49ers and L.A. Live, and wrote he "believes there is some context necessary to fully examine Plant's statement." But Plant's claim is "mostly true" (ATLANTA JOURNAL-CONSTITUTION, 11/22).
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