Gov. Nathan Deal said Wednesday that he wasn’t asked to intervene in the deal that moves the Atlanta Braves to Cobb County during a meeting with franchise officials and Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed. He also said he doesn’t expect any state tax dollars to help foot the bill for the move.
He said he set up the meeting as an “interested observer” in the team’s relocation, but said his main priority was to make sure the franchise would remain in the area.
“I’m glad they are going to stay in Georgia and we want to make sure that happens,” he said. “And I have fairly good predictivity that that’s going to occur.”
Deal said Reed didn’t try to offer the team a last-ditch plan to stay within the city’s limits during the meeting, and said “details are trying to be worked out” with Cobb County over how they will finance a part of the $672 million stadium.
He would not close the door on the possibility that state dollars could go toward infrastructure improvements around the Cobb stadium, but said he doesn’t plan to chip in any state funds in next year’s budget for the Cumberland area.
“This is primarily a private venture,” Deal said. “It has been and I don’t expect that to change.”
He added: “I do not see this as something that the taxpayers of this state will be asked or called upon to pay for.”
Reed said on Tuesday that he wouldn’t try to block the team’s decision to move up Interstate 75. He cast the Braves’ decision as a win for the region rather than a loss for the city, though many fans within the city limits are outspoken in their disagreement.
Deal, for his part, would have little incentive for getting involved in the deal. The state doesn’t own Turner Field and it’s not a part of the Georgia World Congress Center, the sprawling convention campus in downtown. That’s a contrast to Deal’s involvement in keeping the Falcons, who play in the state-owned Georgia Dome, within the city limits.
What’s still uncertain is how the $672 million stadium will be financed. Braves officials are still mum on how much the team will spend to support the construction, and Cobb County Commission Chair Tim Lee is also tightlipped.
Reed has cast an upbeat image by promising a massive middle-class development on the site where Turner Field now stands. But if there are plans underway, even Fulton County officials, who jointly own Turner Field with the city, say they are out of the loop.