It was a shock to begin with when the Braves announced the move. Turner Field has been their home for less than 20 years, and they're going against the recent trend of putting ballpark near the urban center. Given the map of their season ticket holders, it's not the worst idea in the world, and there would be no issue if the Braves (owned by Liberty Media) were paying for it 100%. Are they? Of course not. That's not how it's worked for a very long time.
The funding scheme with Cobb County was announced on Thursday. According to reports, county officials were adamant about not levying any new taxes. Also, according to the Cobb County GOP in as blatant example of thinly veiled racism you can find, the agreement also couldn't allow for expanded public transportation from the city (read: black people) to the county. The result was this:
- The Braves will contribute $280 million up front, and $92 million more over the course of the agreement
- The county will pay $14 million up front for transportation improvements
- The country will also kick in $276 million by issuing bonds. Those bonds will be repaid by:
- A new rental car tax ($400,000 a year)
- An existing hotel/motel tax ($940,000 a year)
- A new hotel/motel tax ($2.74 million a year)
- A new property tax in a self-taxing commercial district ($5.15 million a year)
- Shifting already collected property tax money ($8.67 million)
Unfortunately, this is usually how these things work. A bankrupt Detroit is on the hook for 60% of the Red Wings new arena. The Minnesota Vikings new stadium deal has been a boondoggle from the start. The claims of economic benefit are almost always inflated and almost always wrong. Public financing of stadiums is the biggest problem in sports, and other than possibly brain trauma in football, nothing else is even close. The Braves deal has not been received well. Could this be the turning point that ends this madness? We can only hope.