Braves, Cobb County Close To Final Ballpark Deal With Team Covering About 40% Of Cost
The Braves and Cobb County (Ga.) have "substantially completed negotiations on five major agreements that are necessary before construction begins" on the team's new ballpark, according to documents cited by Klepal, Schrade & Tucker of the ATLANTA JOURNAL-CONSTITUTION. Cobb County Commission Chair Tim Lee and Braves Exec VP/Business Operations Mike Plant said that the contract drafts are "close to the final versions to be voted upon by Cobb commissioners on May 27." Lee: "I don’t anticipate any substantial changes to any of those documents." He added that this does not preclude the possibility that "small portions of the agreements might be reworked if something comes up." The county and team have "said consistently since announcing the Braves move in November that the stadium cost" would be $672M. But the current budget outlined in the stadium development agreement lists the “total project cost” at $622M, with a “maximum stadium cost” of $672M. The budget also states that the "county contribution" toward the stadium budget is $368M. The county said that this includes $92M that will be repaid with $6.1M in "annual rent payments from the team." The Braves’ cash contribution to the project is listed as $230M, which may include an additional $50M of “Braves discretionary” spending. The Braves at $230M would be paying 37% of "the stadium project’s up-front costs." If the Braves "kick in" the $50M in discretionary funds, their contribution would be about 42% of the project cost (ATLANTA JOURNAL-CONSTITUTION, 5/8).
MARKING THEIR TERRITORY: In Atlanta, Klepal, Schrade & Tucker cite documents in which the Braves "exert a measure of control ... over any county property within a one-mile radius of the site, by prohibiting the county from selling or leasing properties to competitors of Braves’ sponsors." Plant: "It’s just basically to preclude ambushing from a sponsorship standpoint. We have a big deal with Coke and Delta. We don’t want (the county) selling off pieces of land so somebody can put a big competitor’s sign on it." Klepal, Schrade & Tucker note the Braves have also "agreed to a non-relocation agreement that binds the team to the stadium" through '46 (ATLANTA JOURNAL-CONSTITUTION, 5/8). Braves Exec VP/Sales & Marketing Derek Schiller said that the franchise has "not yet gone into the market to sell the stadium’s naming rights." Schiller: "We’ve received a lot of interest, lot of inquiries coming our way already about interested parties, and I would say sometime mid/late summer we should start to get that process started" (MARIETTA DAILY JOURNAL, 5/8).