Braves Attendance On Track To Be Up 25% This Season Thanks To New SunTrust Park
SunTrust Park's inaugural season will conclude Sunday, and attendance is on pace to "increase about 500,000 from last year," according to Tim Tucker of the ATLANTA JOURNAL-CONSTITUTION. Braves Chair & CEO Terry McGuirk said of the park's first season, "It has gone by in a blink, flown by. ... It has gone smoothly. It has gone positively. And we’re all about the future." Meanwhile, Braves President of Business Derek Schiller said that only 30% of The Battery Atlanta's square footage "is open." McGuirk: "We've got 10 or 11 restaurants open. We'll have 20 when we're done." Team execs said that inside the ballpark, the Braves made "operational adjustments throughout the season as they learned the building, but no major alterations are planned in the offseason." Schiller said, "We all feel very good about how the ballpark has operated, the experience it provides" (ATLANTA JOURNAL-CONSTITUTION, 9/22). Tucker notes when the gates close Sunday, the Braves will likely have a '17 attendance of "about 2.5 million, up from 2.02 million last year." That would mark about a 25% "increase, slightly below the average increase" of 28% by 14 other MLB teams in their first year in new ballparks since '00. But the new-ballpark bounce "probably has been mitigated by the drag of a fourth consecutive losing season." Still, the Braves will "finish with their highest attendance" since '13, their last winning season (ATLANTA JOURNAL-CONSTITUTION, 9/22).
FOND FAREWELL: In Orlando, George Diaz notes the Braves and ESPN Wide World of Sports at Disney are "breaking up after two decades," as the Braves have "found a new home on Florida's west coast in North Port." And so the Braves will "turn off the porch light after they come here one last time" for '18 Spring Training and become the last MLB team to "have a spring fling in Central Florida." Diaz: "But no regrets. The Braves were good to Central Florida and vice-versa" (ORLANDO SENTINEL, 9/22).