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New Braves spring training site in works

Atlanta BravesWe may have a new Braves spring training site in coming years, as the Atlanta team’s reps have met with several Florida counties about a new complex once the Champion Stadium lease expires.

It’s no secret that the Braves have been unhappy with the situation at ESPN’s Wide World of Sports and Champion Stadium: the team is clearly a secondary tenant, as Disney’s success in positioning the complex as a sports-tourism mecca has pushed the Braves to the side. With the Braves’ lease up in three years, the team is laying the groundwork for a possible move. From the Atlanta Journal-Constitution:

The Braves have engaged commercial real-estate services firm JLL — the same firm working with the team on its new stadium and mixed-use development in Cobb County — to “assist us (with) site finding in Florida,” Braves president John Schuerholz said….

Schuerholz said the Braves seek a location with “community, political and economic” interest in hosting the team, as well as a location near other teams’ training facilities to reduce travel time to exhibition games. But he said it’s too early to know which cities or counties are possible matches.

“It would just be speculation about whether they’re interested, whether they’re not interested, whether we’re going to go there, whether we’re not going to go there,” Schuerholz said. “We don’t know any of that. We’re doing our due diligence, talking to as many communities as we can. Once we find out who might be interested, then we’ll go further.”

As noted, these talks are all very preliminary and encompass a wide variety of community, including Venice, West Palm Beach, Naples and Fort Myers. But combine the Braves’ unhappiness at Disney World — not the happiest place on earth for the team — with the potential of another Florida community landing spring training, and you have the makings of a new complex in three or four years.

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