On Friday evening, the Atlanta Braves will officially open our new home, SunTrust Park. This is the culmination of years of planning and hard work by many people who worked diligently with one goal in mind - to create a world-class facility with an unparalleled game day experience for the millions of fans who call Braves Country home. The best fans in baseball deserve the best ballpark in baseball.
While our history dates back to 1871, it is our time here in Atlanta that truly defines this organization. We have been proud to call Atlanta home since 1966. In that time, Atlanta has tripled in size and become a vibrant and diverse place which we are proud to represent as we travel the country and broadcast to a worldwide audience.
Like Atlanta, this project is innovative and ambitious. SunTrust Park will set the new standard for Major League Baseball ballparks. It will make the experience of watching and interacting with a baseball game exceptional, featuring a more intimate setting and a classic baseball experience with better sightlines, wider concourses and more seats closer to the field than any other ballpark in professional baseball. It offers a family-friendly environment, great areas for gathering with friends, club environments for those who want more amenities and unmatched internet bandwidth so you’re always connected. Fans can enjoy traditional ballpark fare as well as on-site-brewed beer and unique creations from the region’s finest chefs. Kids can swing for the fences in simulator games, try out a climbing wall or even ride a zip line. SunTrust Park delivers all of this while maintaining affordable ticket prices, offering more than 19,000 tickets for less than $20.
Sitting immediately outside the gates of SunTrust Park is The Battery Atlanta, an incredible entertainment and lifestyle destination which will be bustling every day, but also gives our fans a reason to come to the games early and stay long after the final out. Featuring restaurants, bars, shopping, entertainment venues, offices and apartments, it will revolutionize game days.
All told, this project represents a nearly $1.3 billion investment into our community. This is a game-changer for Atlanta, which is why we and our private partners are investing more than $900 million into the project.
The Atlanta Braves are one of the greatest economic engines in this region, and this will only enhance that. Each year, millions of fans come through our gates. Of those, roughly 38 percent are from outside metro Atlanta and 26 percent are from outside the state of Georgia, many of whom stay in hotels, visit other attractions, eat and shop while here. Overall, this will generate an economic impact of more than $1.7 billion over 20 years, and that doesn’t include the tremendous impact that The Battery Atlanta will deliver.
I would be remiss if I didn’t thank our partners in this project – namely Cobb County and SunTrust. We appreciate the faith in this partnership and belief in the vision for SunTrust Park and The Battery Atlanta that has been displayed by the leadership and citizens of Cobb County. It has already started to pay off, with more than $2 billion in additional private investment in the Cumberland market alone, as well as millions in new tax revenue before the first pitch is thrown in the ballpark. We appreciate their cooperation and patience as we have worked to transform this bustling area.
In the same way, it is not often that a naming rights partner comes on board “before shovels hit the ground,” but that is exactly what happened here with SunTrust. Because of this unique partnership, SunTrust has been able to collaborate with us and put their fingerprint on this project to make it even better. We look forward to helping them reinforce their commitment to the community and to helping them engage directly with people where they live, work and play.
When we announced our move, the idea of SunTrust Park and The Battery Atlanta was unlike anything Atlanta, or the sports world, had ever seen. Our expectations, and those of our fans, were extraordinary and I’m excited to say that what we built has far exceeded what we imagined. It is my distinct honor to welcome home all of Braves Country to SunTrust Park.
Terry McGuirk is chairman and CEO, Atlanta Braves.