Malone’s Braves Number 1 At Public Subsidies.
John Malone’s Liberty Media Major League Baseball Atlanta Braves franchise did not have a very good year in 2017 on the field. The team won 70 games and lost 92 contests. But Malone and his front office team is the very best in the baseball industry in one area. Malone’s employees working in Liberty Media’s baseball division have been very successful in getting new facilities built with a substantial amount of public subsidies for his baseball franchises including the Major League team in Cobb County, Georgia. Malone’s minor league teams in Pearl, Mississippi, Rome, Georgia, Gwinnett County, Georgia and a spring training facility that will open in North Port, Florida in 2020 also have taxpayers funded stadiums. Pearl has a double A minor league baseball team but building a baseball park may have contributed to Pearl’s financial difficulties. That’s not a Malone problem. Cobb County invested at least $400 million into the present Braves stadium which opened in 2017 and replaced the team’s 20-year-old publicly supported facility in Atlanta.
Malone’s business got what it wanted, a shiny facility with loads of revenue generating gadgets. But did Cobb County get what it was seeking? A stadium that would be launching pad for economic development? The answer seems to be no although the Cobb County stadium opened last April. Cobb County’s finances are a mess. Cobb County’s annual debt on the stadium is a bit more than $16 million. There is another two million dollar charge every year for other expenses. There has been talk in Cobb County of cutting public library funding and use that money as a way to help pay down the Braves stadium debt. There could be other taxes hikes and other cuts in county services. But all is well with Malone and the Braves. Cobb County’s financially woes don’t matter. Politicians have to figure out a solution not Malone.