How the Atlanta Braves’ Proposed Stadium Deal Could Screw Their New Home

Cobb County, Georgia, has an $86.4 million school budget deficit but reportedly will pony up hundreds of millions in public stadium financing.

Photoillustration by Matt Connolly

Update (11/14/13): Cobb County announced this morning that it will be contributing $300 million—not $450 million, as was originally reported—to the new stadium plan. This post has been updated to reflect the new figures.

Baseball’s Atlanta Braves are planning to move to suburban Cobb County, Georgia, leaving behind their within-city-limits home of 17 years. “The issue isn’t the Turner Field we play in today, but instead whether or not the venue can remain viable for another 20 to 30 years,” the team wrote on a website explaining the move, essentially conceding that the current stadium is fine—but that it might not be in 30 years.

Although the price has not yet been finalized, reports claim the new stadium will cost $672 million, with $300 million coming from Cobb County (motto: “Low on taxes, big on business“). This is the same Cobb County that faced an $86.4 million school budget shortfall this year, forcing employees to take furloughs. While local officials are hoping a new stadium will eventually pay for itself in local economic impact, such claims are often exaggerated. And a look at some recent stadium boondoggles should be enough to give any municipality—or taxpayer—pause.

Here’s what $300 million in stadium subsidies could mean to folks in Cobb County:


One More Thing

And it's a big one. Mother Jones is launching a new Corruption Project to do deep, time-intensive reporting on the corruption that is both the cause and result of the crisis in our democracy.

The more we thought about how Mother Jones can have the most impact right now, the more we realized that so many stories come down to corruption: People with wealth and power putting their interests first—and often getting away with it.

Our goal is to understand how we got here and how we might get out. We're aiming to create a reporting position dedicated to uncovering corruption, build a team, and let them investigate for a year—publishing our stories in a concerted window: a special issue of our magazine, video and podcast series, and a dedicated online portal so they don't get lost in the daily deluge of headlines and breaking news.

We want to go all in, and we've got seed funding to get started—but we're looking to raise $500,000 in donations this spring so we can go even bigger. You can read about why we think this project is what the moment demands and what we hope to accomplish—and if you like how it sounds, please help us go big with a tax-deductible donation today.

We Recommend


Sign up for our newsletters

Subscribe and we'll send Mother Jones straight to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.


Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.