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New Braves Spring Training Stadium

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

New Braves Spring Training Stadium
LocationNorth Port, Florida
Coordinates27°02′01″N 82°19′12″W / 27.033728°N 82.319887°W / 27.033728; -82.319887
Public transitSarasota County Area Transit
OwnerSarasota County, Florida[1]
OperatorAtlanta Braves[1]
Capacity7,000 fixed seats and 8,500 total[2]
Field size
  • Left Field – 335 ft (102 m)
  • Left-Center – 385 ft (117 m)
  • Center Field – 400 ft (122 m)
  • Right-Center – 375 ft (114 m)
  • Right Field – 325 ft (99 m)
Broke groundOctober 16, 2017[5][6]
OpenedApril 2019 (planned)[10]
Construction cost$125 million [7]
ArchitectFawley Bryant Architecture & Pendulum[8]
Project managerCarolyn Eastwood[9]
General contractorTandem Construction[5]
Atlanta Braves (MLB) (2019 planned)

The Atlanta Braves of Major League Baseball are planning to move to a new Spring Training stadium in Sarasota County, Florida, for the 2020 season. Their lease at Champion Stadium expires at the end of the 2019 season.[11][12] The ballpark will be located in North Port, Florida in the southern part of Sarasota County, 35 miles (56 km) south of Sarasota, Florida.

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Since 2015, the Atlanta Braves have been looking for a new Spring Training home.[4] The Braves, who have held spring training at Disney’s ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex near Orlando, Florida since 1997, have sought a new spring home in Florida to get closer to other teams’ facilities.[4]

In April 2016, the Braves and Sarasota County officials announced they were in formal negotiations.[13] The Braves and Sarasota County began discussing a 100- to 150-acre site in the West Villages master-planned community in North Port.[4]

Braves choose North Port

In January 2017, the Braves and Sarasota County announced that they had entered formal negotiations.[1] Plans for the project show a $125 million complex on about 70 acres.[1][7][14] Six weeks after the Braves entered exclusive negotiations with Sarasota County, Fla., about a new spring-training facility, the parties reached agreement on the key terms of a proposed deal.[4] The term sheet describes a $75.4 million facility to be built in the city of North Port and funded by Sarasota County, the state of Florida, North Port, the Braves and a private developer.[4]

The future location of the Braves spring training complex is currently 70 acres of undeveloped land in the West Villages community of North Port, Florida
The future location of the Braves spring training complex is currently 70 acres of undeveloped land in the West Villages community of North Port, Florida

City and County Approval

On February 28, 2017 the planned deal for a new Atlanta Braves spring training stadium received its first approval.[15] The initial agreement, known as a term sheet, outlines some of the basic finance, construction and operating commitments for baseball stadium.[15] The Sarasota County Commission voted 4-1 to approve the terms, but only after commissioners raised serious questions about naming rights for the would-be stadium and public access to its numerous baseball and multi-use fields.[15] Although other commissioners seemed to support her concerns, no amendments were made to the terms, which now still include that the team is to retain revenues from naming the stadium.[15] Ultimately, commissioners agreed, there is more negotiating to be done and time to refine public access issues in the series of agreements due before the board in coming months.[15]

On May 9, 2017 the Sarasota County Commission unanimously endorsed the plan to revise the distribution of the county’s tourist development tax, collected on overnight stays at hotel rooms and short-term rentals.[16] The county plans to borrow about $22 million for the project and pay it back using a portion of the tourist tax funds, now specifically designated for the new Braves complex and the Baltimore Orioles’ Ed Smith Stadium in Sarasota, without raising the tax itself.[16]

The mechanism behind the change is perhaps best understood by imagining the 5 percent tax as five pennies levied on every dollar spent on hotel stays or short-term rentals.[16] Each of those “pennies” are divided and distributed to fund certain projects and the tax raises about $20 million a year.[16] By shifting the assignments of those “pennies,” the county will now dedicate about 15 percent of the annual collections — estimated at $3.3 million — to pay back borrowing for both the Braves and Ed Smith stadiums, plus capital improvement agreements for each.[16]

On May 23, 2017 the Sarasota County Commission voted unanimously to approve an operating agreement that spells out the terms and conditions of a new facility for the Braves and a non-relocation agreement that requires the team to hold spring training in the complex for 30 years.[17] The 48-page operating agreement sets a targeted completion date of January 15, 2019, for construction of the facility, which is to be built in the Sarasota County city of North Port.[17]

In June 2017, the West Villages submitted the final grant application for $20 million in state stadium funding necessary to complete the $75 million to $80 million proposed public-private financing deal.[18] Also, North Port city leaders endorsed a licensing agreement with the Braves that allows for regular public use of the complex outside of baseball games.[18] This satisfied concerns that commissioners have raised over the past few months.[18]

On July 25, 2017 the North Port City Commission voted 3-2 to pay $4.7 million of sales tax money to help fund the spring training complex.[19] Mayor Linda Yates and Commissioner Debbie McDowell both opposed approving the inter-local agreement.[19] Commissioner Chris Hanks proved the swing vote on the motion to approve funding that was made by Vice Mayor Vanessa Carusone and seconded by Commissioner Jill Luke.[19]

On September 1, 2017 it was announced that the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity had conditionally approved $20 million that rounded out funding for the project.[20] On September 12, 2017 the Sarasota County commissioners unanimously approved the agreements.[14]

Commissioners also approved an interlocal agreement that outlines rights and responsibilities between the county and the West Villages Improvement District.[14] The West Villages Improvement District will be responsible for the design and construction of the training facility.[14] Upon completion, ownership will be transferred to the county.[14] On September 19, 2017, the plan received its final public approval from the North Port City Commission.[21]


By September 2017, crews had started preparatory studies and surveys of the site.[20] On September 1, 2017, the Braves announced Mike Dunn as the new Vice President of Florida Operations.[22] Dunn will oversee development of the new spring-training complex.[22] On October 16, 2017, local officials and team executives formally broke ground on the site of the planned $100 million stadium complex.[5] Braves Vice Chairman John Schuerholz welcomed a crowd of more than 100 fans, residents and local elected officials as new “friends and neighbors” to the team during a short opening ceremony in the sweltering heat.[5]

Sarasota-based Tandem Construction and Southfield, MI based Barton Malow is in charge of project.[5][23] The construction schedule was to complete at least the stadium in time for when pitchers and catchers report to camp in February 2019.[5] However, on January 31, 2018 it was accounned that the Braves they would extend their lease with Disney’s ESPN Wide World of Sports through April 2019 “to ensure there is enough time to complete” the new facility.[11] The team said it will hold 2019 spring training at Disney with the exception of playing its final home game that spring at the new facility.[11]

In June 2018, 30% of the construction was complete.[24] The seats themselves and the scoreboard are scheduled to be installed in late October or early November, said Mike Dunn, vice president and director of Florida operations for the Braves.[25] Between now and then, construction will progress through several milestones such as the completion of the locker rooms, which will be outfitted by North Port-based Adams Group.[25]


A rendering of the new stadium
A rendering of the new stadium

That Braves plans include a stadium with 7,000 fixed seats that can accommodate up to 8,500, including the berm and standing room, team clubhouse, training facilities, a half-dozen practice baseball fields, six multi-use fields and space for the team's sports medicine academy.[1][2] The complex is envisioned to become the heart of a planned "town center" commercial and residential district that will create opportunities for the college and nearby medical practices to partner with the team and its affiliates.[1]

The stadium itself would sit on the north end of the tract, just south of the site of a planned new elementary and middle school campus.[1] A public plaza area would line West Villages Parkway and could be used as a special event space when the team it not in town.[1] Practice fields and multi-use fields would cover the southern and eastern portions of the 70 to 75 acres.[1] Those multi-use fields could both be used as grass parking to expand capacity during spring training and as public fields for the new schools or new tournaments.[1] The team's sports medicine, fitness and physical therapy academy also will have a new home on the site, which officials hope to integrate with programs at the nearby college campus and with area physicians.[1]

The outfield dimensions would mirror those of SunTrust Park, the Braves’ new home in Cobb County in the Atlanta metropolitan area.[4]

See also

Baseball.svg Baseball portal


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l Murdock, Zack (January 17, 2017). "Atlanta Braves pick Sarasota County for spring training". Sarasota Herald-Tribune. Retrieved February 27, 2017.
  2. ^ a b Kimel, Earle (November 16, 2017). "Braves' VP promises community involvement during talk at chamber". Sarasota Herald-Tribune. Retrieved November 19, 2017.
  3. ^ Tucker, Tim (March 9, 2016). "Outfield dimensions, wall heights different at new Braves stadium". The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Retrieved April 20, 2016.
  4. ^ a b c d e f g Tucker, Tim (February 27, 2017). "Braves agree on key terms for new spring home". The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Retrieved February 27, 2017.
  5. ^ a b c d e f Murdock, Zack (October 16, 2017). "Atlanta Braves break ground on spring training complex". Sarasota Herald-Tribune. Retrieved October 16, 2017.
  6. ^ "Atlanta Braves Spring Training". Sarasota County Government. Retrieved April 11, 2018.
  7. ^ a b Tucker, Tim (March 1, 2018). "Cost of Braves' new spring-training facility jumps to $125 million". The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Retrieved March 1, 2018.
  8. ^ Murdock, Zack (February 5, 2017). "A look at the proposed spring home of the Braves". Sarasota Herald-Tribune. Retrieved October 16, 2017.
  9. ^ "Atlanta Braves Spring Training Facility - March 2018 Update". Sarasota County Public Works Capital Projects. Retrieved April 11, 2018.
  10. ^ "Atlanta Braves Extend Spring Training Agreement with ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex through April, 2019" (Press release). Atlanta, Georgia: Atlanta Braves Baseball Club. January 31, 2018. Retrieved November 20, 2018.
  11. ^ a b c Tucker, Tim (January 31, 2018). "Braves delay opening of new spring training complex, stay at Disney extra year". The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Retrieved January 31, 2018.
  12. ^ Murdock, Zack (January 24, 2017). "Atlanta Braves executives 'can't wait' to land in North Port stadium". Sarasota Herald-Tribune. Retrieved February 27, 2017.
  13. ^ Tucker, Tim (March 8, 2016). "Sarasota County board votes to pursue spring-training deal with Braves". The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Retrieved February 27, 2017.
  14. ^ a b c d e Alexander, Cassidy (September 12, 2017). "County approves agreements for Braves training facility". Sarasota Observer. Retrieved September 12, 2017.
  15. ^ a b c d e Murdock, Zack (February 28, 2017). "Sarasota County endorses initial agreement with Atlanta Braves". Sarasota Herald-Tribune. Retrieved March 1, 2017.
  16. ^ a b c d e Murdock, Zack (May 9, 2017). "County approves portion of Braves stadium funding". Sarasota Herald-Tribune. Retrieved May 9, 2017.
  17. ^ a b Tucker, Tim (May 23, 2016). "Sarasota County OKs operating agreement for Braves' spring facility". The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Retrieved May 23, 2017.
  18. ^ a b c Murdock, Zack (June 13, 2017). "Atlanta Braves to-do list: Grant submitted, North Port approved". Sarasota Herald-Tribune. Retrieved June 27, 2017.
  19. ^ a b c Kimel, Earle (July 25, 2017). "City Commission approves $4.7 million lump sum funding for Spring Training complex". Sarasota Herald-Tribune. Retrieved July 26, 2017.
  20. ^ a b Murdock, Zach (July 25, 2017). "State conditionally OKs funding for Braves spring training complex". Sarasota Herald-Tribune. Retrieved July 26, 2017.
  21. ^ Murdock, Zach (September 19, 2017). "North Port approves final Atlanta Braves spring training agreement". Sarasota Herald-Tribune. Retrieved September 19, 2017.
  22. ^ a b "Mike Dunn to Head Florida Ops for Atlanta Braves". Ballpark Digest. September 2, 2017. Retrieved September 4, 2017.
  23. ^ dhorton (October 16, 2017). "Tandem Construction + Barton Malow Selected to Build the Atlanta Braves Spring Training Complex in North Port, FL". Tandem Construction. Retrieved February 8, 2018.
  24. ^ Tucker, Tim (June 19, 2018). "Leadoff: Look at new renderings of Braves' spring training facility". The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Retrieved June 20, 2018.
  25. ^ a b Fanning, Tim (June 16, 2018). "Braves spring ahead with season ticket party in North Port". Sarasota Herald-Tribune. Retrieved June 20, 2018.
This page was last edited on 4 December 2018, at 15:44
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