Braves Announce Plans To Leave Atlanta For Cobb County [Updates]S

As first reported by the Marietta Daily Journal, the Atlanta Braves will announce their intention to leave the 16-year-old Turner Field for a new stadium in Cobb County, Georgia, when their stadium lease expires after the 2016 season.

(The Atlanta Journal-Constitution just confirmed the report. The announcement was made this morning by Braves officials, including team president John Schuerholz.)

According to the Daily Journal, the new stadium would be completed by 2017, and would be built near the intersection of I-75 and 285. That would put it in Cumberland, closer to Marietta than to Atlanta. Team officials confirmed the stadium would be built with some percentage of public funds. (Update: The AJC reports that Cobb County would be responsible for $450 million in financing, with the team kicking in $200 million.)

Turner Field is what remains of the Olympic Stadium built for the 1996 Atlanta games. It was converted into a baseball stadium, opened for the 1997 season, and is somehow already the 17th-youngest ballpark in MLB.

Update: The Braves have a website offering more details on the move. The site explains the team's issues with Turner Field:

Turner Field is a facility that was built for three weeks of use for the Olympics, but has now served us well for nearly 20 years. The issue isn't the Turner Field we play in today, but instead whether or not the venue can remain viable for another 20 to 30 years.

Turner Field has served the Braves well since 1997, but it is in need of major infrastructure work, which will cost around $150 million. These upgrades are functional ones, such as replacing worn-out seats or upgrading the stadium's lighting, and they would do little to significantly enhance the fan experience. If the Braves were to pay for additional projects focused on improving the fan experience, the additional costs could exceed $200 million.

Those upgrades still wouldn't address the logistical challenges outside the stadium – lack of consistent mass transit options, inadequate number of parking spaces and limited access to major highways.

Here's a satellite image showing where the stadium will go:

Braves Announce Plans To Leave Atlanta For Cobb County [Updates]S

And here's their map showing the location of 2012 Braves ticket purchasers. This says everything:

Braves Announce Plans To Leave Atlanta For Cobb County [Updates]S