When the Braves leave for the suburbs in 2017, the City of Atlanta will lose about $4 million in annual sales tax revenue.
That figure comes from an economic impact study by Professor Bruce Seaman of Georgia State University. Seaman drafted a report for the Braves in 2012.
“The Braves have a bigger impact in general than many other sports teams on an annual operational basis because they do attract a fan base from much farther out certainly even from the state’s point of view,” said Professor Seaman, who emphasized that fans come from neighboring states to watch the team play at Turner Field.
Overall, the local economic impact of the team is about $105 million per year. Seaman said while Atlanta will see a dip in revenues, Georgia should not.
“Anything that takes some activity outside of Atlanta, you know, is a negative for Atlanta. Obviously, it’s not that far across the city boundary. Some of the activity, frankly, at the new site will probably extend over into North Atlanta. So, it’s not a complete loss there, but it is a regional transfer of some economic activity,” Seaman explained. “From the state point of view, the most rational conclusion would be there’s going to be no effect.”
To counteract the loss of the team, Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed announced he would like the city to tear down Turner Field and replace it with a mixed used development for the middle class. Seaman said that property could help the city recoup lost revenue, but it would take time.
“There may have to be some creative financing to start that up that might remove those from the tax rolls for a time to make that economically feasible for investors. But ultimately, if that does increase the property tax base, yes, that can definitely compensate for the lost sales tax revenue,” Seaman reasoned.
Cobb County leaders are expected to present their funding plan for the new Braves stadium at the commission meeting November 26.