Analyst: Cobb stadium expenses likely to climb

7:16 PM, Nov 27, 2013   |    comments
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ATLANTA -- With the Atlanta Braves paying a majority of the construction costs for their new Cobb County stadium, the deal looked good enough for the Cobb County board of commissioners to bless it Tuesday night. But what happens after construction is largely unknown -- argues Stefan Turkheimer.

"I don't think they even know how much Cobb County taxpayers are going to be on the hook for," Turkheimer said Wednesday.

Turkheimer is an attorney who wrote an analysis of the stadium agreement in a political blog called Peach Pundit. He points out that the Braves will pay the county about one dollar per ticket sold over the course of thirty years-- which won't change if ticket prices go up. "A dollar per seat now seems like a perfectly reasonable number. A dollar a seat in 2030 probably isn't," Turkheimer said. "There's no escalating clause in there. So that rent will stay exactly the same."

Turkheimer adds that the Braves will reap a huge windfall in parking -- keeping three quarters of the six million dollars per year in projected parking revenue. And Cobb county is projected to pay half the stadium's capital expenses.

"The County could have made a lot more money off of it. They could have had a lot more incentives for growth out of the deal," Turkheimer said. "But they didn't really have the experience, I feel, to draft a better agreement."

Turkheimer says the stadium isn't necessarily a bad deal for cobb county taxpayers -- but rather one that's likely to become more expensive as the details emerge.

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