Atlanta Braves GM Frank Wren stated that the team's move to their new ballpark in Cobb County will result in significant revenue increases, according to David O'Brien of the Atlanta Journal Constitution.
Per O'Brien, Wren believes Cobb County ballpark will allow the team to be "more competitive" and keep many of its homegrown players in the years ahead. With Atlanta signing first baseman Freddie Freeman to an eight-year, $135 million extension on Tuesday, it appears the Braves might already be factoring in this revenue increase into some of their decision-making.
The Braves have been locked into their current payroll for quite some time, and their 2013 payroll (just over $90 million) was actually quite a bit less than the $102 million that Atlanta spent on its roster back in 2008. Over the past three seasons, the team's payroll has hovered right around the $90 million mark despite increases in revenue and payroll across baseball.
Much of this results from the TV deal the Braves signed back in 2007, which reportedly pays the team less than $20 million annually. This yearly revenue is far less lucrative than many of the TV deals currently being signed by other major league clubs. The Dodgers, for example, signed a 25-year deal with Time Warner Cable in 2013 that will pay them $7 billion total, while the Phillies just agreed a deal with Comcast that will net them roughly $100 million in annual revenue.
Such a reality has made things difficult for the Braves, though as Wren said on Wednesday, the team's planned move to Cobb County should land them a much-needed increase in financial revenue.
With valuable young players in Freeman, Jason Heyward, Andrelton Simmons, and Craig Kimbrel on the roster, the Braves will need to spend more cash in order to keep some of their homegrown stars in Atlanta. That process has already begun with Freeman's new contract, but Atlanta will need to keep spending to hold onto players like Heyward and Simmons for the long haul.
Judging by their willingness to invest in Freeman and Wren's quotes on Wednesday, it appears the Braves could finally be able to lock up their young stars more often in the future. That should enable the Braves to remain competitive in the NL East.