The Cobb County Commission’s official vote on the Braves stadium deal happens next week (yes, just two days before Thanksgiving). The county yesterday released the “Memorandum of Understanding” that Commissioners will vote on.
You can dig into the twenty-page acronym-loaded MOU at your leisure (click here to download the pdf) but here’s the main takeaway: the Braves asked for lots of control and they’ve been promised it in a sweetheart of a deal that would run through the 2046 baseball season.
Reading between the lines of the MOU, it’s easy to spot stipulations that reflect the team’s frustrations with its experience at Turner Field, such as the Atlanta Fulton County Recreation Authority’s control over parking lots (which it then subleased to Georgia State and used for county employees and services) or the mandated donation of a percentage of the team’s parking revenue to community groups.
A few highlights of the document:
- The Braves can review and comment on all documents relating to bond
issuance for the public financing.
- The Braves have final review of the stadium design and
- While allowing the county use of the stadium for three special
events per year, the Braves have exclusive right to “use, manage,
and operate” the stadium, the surrounding site, parking, and the
to-be-developed retail and entertainment area.
- The Braves keep all the revenue from their operating agreement.
(In other words, no mandated community donations as in the current
arrangement at Turner Field.)
- The Braves can sell naming rights—not just to the stadium but to
other parts of the development (like parking lots).
- The county will contribute up to $300 million to the $672 million
The document also outlines “conceptual” understanding of transportation and other issues such as “street vendors, gypsy lots, and ticket scalping.”