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Why not renovate Turner Field for college football?


Baseball’s Atlanta Braves are going to be moving to the suburbs in 2017, leaving behind Turner Field in downtown Atlanta in the process. As far as baseball is concerned, I’ll direct you over to our friends at Hardball Talk. I do have an idea for what to do with the baseball stadium that once served as host of the Olympic games though. Why not convert it in to a football stadium? After all, Atlanta loves college football.

The Braves are leaving in part because the stadium needs a number of upgrades to the facility, so a renovation project would be needed regardless. Why not pull out the original blueprints for Centennial Olympic Stadium and reconstruct it to its original form, which would be more ideal for football, and use it as a football stadium? Of course Atlanta already has a football stadium in the Georgia Dome and plans for a new stadium in the works, so this may come off as a silly concept.

And maybe it is, but plenty of baseball stadiums have been converted to host college football games including in San Francisco, New York, Tampa, Chicago and more.

Atlanta is already home to the SEC Championship Game, the Chick-fil-A Bowl and Chick-fil-A Kickoff as well as home games for Georgia State. With a new football stadium that does not figure to change. Could a second football stadium actually make any profit? Would it be possible for Georgia State to use a renovated Turner Field as their home? Could neutral site games be scheduled in the stadium, and maybe even bring additional fan bases to Atlanta for unique college football double-headers between two stadiums?

This is all just thinking out loud, but feel free to serve up your college football ideas for Turner Field and the changing landscape of Atlanta sports if you wish.

Photo credit: Wikipedia

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13 Responses to “Why not renovate Turner Field for college football?”
  1. dhardy8207 says: Nov 11, 2013 10:20 AM

    I thought Turner field was renovated a few years back. Seems like if they knew the Braves would be calling that home they would have made the necessary changes during that time to meet the team’s needs…

    Be a shame to let it stand empty or even worse demolish it altogether….

  2. floridacock says: Nov 11, 2013 10:23 AM

    Turner Field was BUILT just a few years back. So 15- 20 years is the life of a stadium? Another fleecing of the public

  3. knightinatl says: Nov 11, 2013 10:28 AM

    As a local resident, my hope is the City finally wakes up and demolishes the Ted and builds a state of the art Horse Racing facility. Along with the state of Georgia passing legislation to allow pari mutuel betting.

  4. polegojim says: Nov 11, 2013 10:31 AM

    Creative idea Kevin. It would be interesting to see a pro forma on it.

    On one hand… what else can they do without major redevelopment?

    On the other hand – would a few bowl games actually cover the costs of renovations and ongoing operations? There would also be no typical alum donations, unless a college team called it ‘home’.

    Most cities would prefer to sell and receive revs from the sale and redevelopment. The revenue potential and consistent economic impact is typically much greater than an adaptive reuse/ repurposed site with limited use.

    Would the city see enough revenue to put up bonds/funds to renovate? One bowl event would probably bring 30 mil in attendee revs to Atlanta and the revenue is compounded… but my guess is the reno would take 75-100 mil.

    Outside of sports, most other large events can’t palate even the remote risk of postponement or cancellation due to exterior conditions.

    I’d think they’d need to at least have the revenue from an perennial season of college football to make it work long term.

    However, until there is a long term plan… why not give it a shot as it exists, before redevelopment? We do it for Winter Classic Hockey, right?

  5. polegojim says: Nov 11, 2013 10:44 AM

    @floridacock… save the anti-government sensationalism.

    The ‘public’ enjoyed the stadium and Braves games.

    The ‘public’ approved the funds used to build it.

    15-20 years is a TON of revenue from a stadium and especially from indirect/related dollars spent.

    The ‘public’ and city officials helped to improve the city in which they live by having the stadium built.

    Nobody was fleeced – it’s a business that the ‘public’ was well informed and well aware of.

  6. longtallsam says: Nov 11, 2013 11:13 AM

    Well, since it was new in 1996, and will be used by the Braves through 2016, that would be 21 years of use. But even at 21 years, it does seem a shame if it would not be useful without major, major renovation.

  7. dcroz says: Nov 11, 2013 11:16 AM

    Turner Field (and I always thought it should have been Hank Aaron Field myself) is less than 20 years old, while the Georgia Dome is less than 25. Is building new stadiums when the current ones are barely broken in the best use of resources? While it’s been a few years since I’ve been through the ATL, I starkly remember seeing derelict buildings in downtown just a couple blocks from modern skyscrapers. Couldn’t the government’s part of the money for these new venues be used to purchase and renovate or tear down these eyesores, thus increasing the appeal of the area? And Atlanta itself is already like a giant cancer cell growing out of control, outstripping its road grid and water resources; why encourage even more sprawl by putting a stadium where it’s just going to attract even more development? I just don’t know if this is a good idea on several fronts.

  8. normtide says: Nov 11, 2013 12:21 PM

    The braves are moving mainly because of transportation issues.

  9. mrlaloosh says: Nov 11, 2013 4:05 PM

    GEORGIA STATE? Is there a lamer city than Atlanta? I

  10. florida727 says: Nov 11, 2013 7:41 PM

    Low-income housing. And I’ll wager on it. It’s NOT ‘downtown’. It’s in a neighborhood I wouldn’t travel through after dark. Sorry if that offends anyone. It’s a fact though.

  11. sweepthleg says: Nov 11, 2013 8:07 PM

    “Turner Field was BUILT just a few years back. So 15- 20 years is the life of a stadium? Another fleecing of the public”

    I hate seeing this statement everywhere is either a blatant distortion of the truth or willful ignorance of the situation.

    Before it was Turner Field it was Olympic Stadium as structure that was going to be build regardless of whether the Braves decided to play there or not. One of the few good things to come out of the 96 Olympics is the fact that the City of Atlanta was able to use all the structures that were built after the games ended. Atlanta owns Turner Field and probably made a profit off of it over the course of its 17 years of existence. The Braves want to move because the City’s Politicians have been screwing over the franchise for the past decade and if Cobb County wants to build a stadium that offers a great fan experience the I’m all for it.

  12. Oscar D says: Nov 12, 2013 9:09 AM

    Bad idea, actually a good idea but Atlanta already has a second football stadium on the Georgia Tech campus.

    Discarding 2 stadiums that are less than 25 years old is excessive. But that is what happens when you build stadiums that are not well thought out in the first place. Both Turner Field and the Georgia Dome were not well designed and in the case of Turner Field not designed for baseball at all.

    I welcome a new home for the Braves. Hopefully they build a stadium like Camden Yards or PNC Park or Target Field. Otherwise they will be looking to move in another 20 years.

  13. howardclark says: May 11, 2014 2:08 PM

    Atlanta…the City of the Disposable Stadium. $$$$$

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