Ted Turner was robbed.
OK, we all know about AOL buying Time Warner with junk stock, but his name on the stadium? He should have been paid.
Take a look at this slideshow and I think you’ll start to understand what sources of private money those putting together the Cobb Braves Stadium deal are looking at. It’s the current top 10 stadium naming rights deals currently active.
Now look there at number one. It’s the only baseball stadium on the list, but it’s for the New York Mets. The Mets? That’s right. $20 Million per year for 20 years to put Citi’s name on the Mets’ stadium.
But that’s New York you say. Can we get that kind of money in Atlanta? Well, scroll on down to number 6. It’s for Phillips Arena. The lowly Hawks (and former Winnipeg Thrashers) were strong enough to get $9.25 Million per year for 20 years. I don’t recall anyone ever referring to the Hawks as “America’s team”. I would argue that the Braves have both a better Brand ID, as well as a more favorable climate to negotiate naming rights than when the Atlanta Spirit negotiated that deal.
Now I’ll refer you back to this post from a bit earlier today, where down in the comments we broke down the debt service needed to pay off bonds if all $450 Million as rumored must be bonded. It’s between roughly $20 and $29 Million per year (30 vs 20 year debt service). Now take $15M to $20M off that for naming rights and…it looks like there’s a structure where taxpayers may not exactly be on the hook for much if anything.
Hypothetical? Absolutely. But so are a lot of the usual histrionics going on. Cobb Chairman Tim Lee says we’ll see numbers and other details by Friday. There will be a lot to criticize and scrutinize once we have them. I can wait until then before feeling compelled to do so.