MLB Stadium Showcase: The Braves New SunTrust Park
Friday night, the Atlanta Braves play their first regular season home game at SunTrust Park, the franchise’s brand new $672 million stadium. The Braves move to SunTrust Park comes after the club played the last 20 seasons at Turner Field.
Perhaps the most unique aspect of this change of ballparks involves the fact that the Braves went the complete opposite direction of what had been the prevailing trend, in both Major League Baseball and the NBA, during the last quarter century. While most new stadiums have been constructed either in or just outside of a downtown area, the Braves instead chose to trade their near city center location, for a spot on the very edge of town.
SunTrust Park sits in the Cumberland section of northwest Atlanta (near the intersection of I-75 and I-285), amid the sprawling office parks, shopping malls and suburban neighborhoods of Cobb County, 13 miles northwest of Turner Field and 11 miles northwest of downtown Atlanta. The Braves contend that a large percentage of their fan-base lives in the northern (more affluent) areas of the Atlanta metropolitan area, thus allowing for a more manageable trek to games, particularly those played during the week.
Below are comparison photos of the new and old geographical location, courtesy of ajc.com.
As a result of the new stadium’s greater distance from public transportation, the facility comes equipped with 11,000 parking spots, compared to Turner Field’s 8,500.
The 41,000-seat ballpark features 32 luxury suites, 4,000 premium seats and three clubs. The SunTrust Club is on field level, with the larger Delta SKY360° Club and Infiniti Club positioned further up. The stadium’s premium experience also includes 90 four-seat terrace tables, located on the terrace level, behind home plate (pictured below).
Photo courtesy: The Sporting News
Other bells and whistles include a Braves Clubhouse Store, Monument Garden (area pays tribute to Braves history, with a Hank Aaron statue serving as the centerpiece), 800 Wifi hot spots, the blasting of a 50-foot water fountain after Braves homeruns, a 121 by 64 BravesVision video board, along with dueling 90 by 6 display boards above each bullpen and a 90 by 30 out-of-town scoreboard.
Photo Courtesy: Newsday
Photo courtesy: MLB.com
SunTrust will also offer a wide array of concessions ranging from typical stadium fare to vegan, BBQ, Mexican and even waffles.
During both game and non-game days, the immediate area around SunTrust Park will be full of things to do.
In conjunction with the $672 million ballpark, the Braves and Cobb County also constructed the $452 million Battery Atlanta project. Located just behind right field, the mega mixed-use development offers an array of retail, restaurant, nightlife, performing arts, office and residential opportunities.
A brand new Omni Hotel will open in 2018, with the locale also serving as the southeastern regional headquarters for Comcast.
After relocating from Milwaukee to Georgia in 1966, the Braves have spent every subsequent season playing just south of downtown Atlanta. Moving 13 miles northwest bucks both a trend in stadium construction and the entire geographical history of the franchise. Time will tell if the move proves to be beneficial, for the organization and fans alike.