News is out this morning that the Atlanta Braves, who’ve played in Turner Field in downtown Atlanta for 17 years, will be moving in 2017 to a new stadium in suburban Cobb County. Since they already play in a nice, relatively new stadium, this is causing all kinds of controversy. That said, it’s recognized in baseball circles that the Braves draw a relatively small crowd relative to the consistent success the team has experienced. (Full disclosure: most of us here at PolicyMap are Phillies fans, and are still haunted by the Braves’ decades of dominance. Chipper Jones will forever give me nightmares.)
So why are the Braves moving out of Atlanta? The team released a map of their ticket sales, showing the location of all their ticket buyers, their current stadium, and their new stadium (image from homeofthebraves.com):
Looks like there are a lot more Braves fans in the northern suburbs, right? Well, let’s look at another map, of household incomes in the Atlanta area:
When you look at this map, it looks like the Braves aren’t necessarily moving to where the fans are, but to where the money is. Incomes are higher in the northern suburbs, and so that’s where the ticket buyers are coming from. Fans in Atlanta or in the southern suburbs will be out of luck.
Take a look at PolicyMap and look at how some of the other demographic indicators look around Atlanta. You can see how the Braves are making a smart business decision by using GIS and mapping, but that not everyone’s going to benefit from the move.