The Atlanta Braves stunned fans Monday by announcing that the team will leave Turner Field by 2017 for a new 42,000-seat, $672 million ballpark in suburban Cobb County, mostly funded by taxpayers.
Turner Field, which was the home of the 1996 Olympic Games before being modified for the Braves, needed $150 million in routine improvements and more than $200 million to improve "fan experience," Braves executive Mike Plant said in a statement, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution
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The move goes against a couple of common trends for sports facilities. The Braves are moving out to the suburbs while most new stadiums, particularly baseball stadiums, have moved toward the urban core of their cities.
Though Turner Field did not have direct service to MARTA, the city's commuter rail service, MARTA does not operate at all in Cobb County.
The Atlanta Falcons NFL team is also planning a new stadium, but will stay close to downtown with the new $1.2 billion retractable roof venue, slated to open in 2017, per the AP.
Plant, the executive vice president of business operations, said that talks with the Atlanta Fulton County Recreational Authority broke down this year over a Turner Field extension.
"We started looking at our future way back in 2005," Plant told The Associated Press.
"We recognized some of the challenges the current site held for us and we recognized some of the opportunities that we were going to pursue to enhance those."
Fans on Twitter weren't sure about the news.
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