A few days ago, I read that the Atlanta Braves are getting a new stadium. In the world of professional sports, this isn’t big news because teams get new stadiums and arenas left and right. What makes this one different is the fact that Turner Field only opened in 1996 for the olympics and became the home of the Braves in 1997. They’ve only played there for 16 years! The Braves are leaving Atlanta for Cobb County in the suburbs. In so many words this is what happened, the Braves wanted Atlanta to pay for a new stadium for them and the city said no. The team went to Cobb County and they said yes. So the Braves get a free new stadium while local tax payers flip the bill. This is the story of professional sports in the United States. I’m not a fan of this at all because the teams are worth hundreds of millions of dollars and can pay for new facilities themselves. What always happens is that the teams threaten to move and politicians cave in and give away the farm. Politicians don’t want to be blamed for losing the team. Municipalities state that new stadiums or arenas are part of greater economic development agendas which have been refuted. This isn’t going to stop because teams will continue to get as much as they can from localities and politicians will keep on giving.
On the side, the Atlantic Cities has published this funny article countering all the Braves arguments for a new stadium.