Populous designs $672mn SunTrust Park – the new home of Atlanta Braves



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SunTrust Park

In two years time, Atlanta Braves will move into their new suburban ballpark. The groundbreaking ceremony for the $672-million state-of-the-art stadium was held on September 16. Designed be renowned architects Populous, the 41,500-seat stadium is scheduled for opening before the 2017 season.

Sketches of the stadium were released on the park’s Twitter feed Tuesday.

At the groundbreaking celebration attended by a host of team and government officials, the Braves announced a naming rights deal with Georgia’s largest bank that will result in the stadium being known as SunTrust Park.

“A groundbreaking is a beginning. In two years, we’ll transform this bare patch of dirt from what it is today into a magnificent ballpark and a majestic ballpark village,” said Braves CEO and Chairman Terry McGuirk, who describing the event as ‘one of the most important days in the franchise’s history’.

Sports Business Journal reported that SunTrust’s sponsorship will be worth over US$10m per year to the Braves. Although this is unconfirmed, that would equate to at least US$250m over the full term.

“We are extremely proud to be affiliated with a world-class franchise with tremendous business potential and incredibly loyal fans,” SunTrust Chairman and CEO, William Rogers, said.

Major League Baseball Commissioner-elect Rob Manfred, who attended the ceremony at the Cobb Country, said, “A day like today is great testament to the strength of Major League Baseball, the strength of our product, and the depth that communities feel in terms of their attachment to the game.”

The ceremony was held inside a tent that was positioned on a plot of dirt that will soon serve as the new stadium’s centre-field area. Around the open-air, 41,500-seat ballpark will be a mixed-use village that will include restaurants, hotels, office space and residential opportunities. With this mixed-use development, the Braves are hoping to gain year-round revenues that will continue to assist them in their efforts to construct championship-calibre rosters on a consistent basis.

The Braves have touted the stadium as not only a new place to play baseball, but a chance to fully integrate a mixed-used development that will give fans other things to do before and after the game. Those amenities are lacking in the neighbourhood surrounding Turner Field, the team’s current home near downtown Atlanta.

Still, the move to a new stadium – announced last November – was curious because Turner Field is less than two decades old. It was built as the main stadium for the 1996 Summer Olympics, then was converted to a 50,000-seat baseball park for the Braves.

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