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Monday, April 1, 2013 - 10:43am

Atlanta Braves Start Season, Stadium Talks

The Atlanta Braves celebrated Opening Day Monday, but they were already thinking about their future.

According to Mike Plant, Executive Vice President of Business Operations for the Braves, the team is in talks with the City of Atlanta over their lease of Turner Field.

“We’re happy staying here,” explained Plant. “We certainly need to do some renovation work here. When you look at this stadium and compare it to your house and my house, I mean, eventually you need a new roof and windows need to be painted.”

Plant said, however, that the scope of the work at Turner Field is very different from what the Atlanta Falcons have asked the city for this year. The Braves do not want a brand new stadium; instead they want to expand the team’s reach.

“Our [project] is to stimulate a development that’s around the stadium that again, will produce more jobs, more economic impact, more tax revenues and certainly we think that’s a winning combination for us and the city and the state,” Plant said.

The team already has a significant economic impact on Atlanta and the state as a whole. The team commissioned an economic impact study by Georgia State University in 2012. Plant said the team used the same researcher as the Falcons, Dr. Bruce Seaman.

According to Seaman’s research, the Braves offer 1500 full time jobs. 11 to 12 percent of fans who visit Turner Field come from outside the state and visitors rent 110,000 hotel rooms each season.

“We generate an economic impact in excess of $100 million a year that goes into the economy in the city of Atlanta and the state of Georgia,” shared Plant. “So, we believe we’re an economic driver and we certainly don’t want people to lose sight of that and it’s certainly something that helps a great deal of people beyond us just playing baseball games and trying to win that World Series.”

Plant said funding for the stadium development would come from a variety of sources, including city, state and federal tax incentive programs as well as the Braves organization.