ATLANTA — As the Braves' parent company, Liberty Media, continues to navigate the difficult climate COVID-19 has presented with operating a baseball team, our partners at the Atlanta Business Chronicle report the organization is exploring a sale of part of The Battery.
The mixed-use development was the dual feature of the push to build the Braves a new ballpark in Cobb County, and has been a popular shopping and dining destination even when the team isn't in town.
But the pandemic has made it both impossible to bring fans to a baseball game and put a massive dent in the number of people making trips out for shopping and dining.
The Atlanta Business Chronicle reported earlier this week the the Braves' revenue was down 95% in the second quarter. The team took in just $11 million of revenue in April and June, down from $208 million the same time last year.
That strain, the Chronicle now reports, is leading Liberty to consider drastic measures.
“I think we try and make a decision about uses of the capital and how it gets valued,” Liberty Media CEO Greg Maffei said on an earnings conference call on Aug. 10, the Chronicle reported. “And depending on where we stand, and what kind of valuation we would get, we might or might not try and liquidate some of the Battery portfolio.”
According to the Chronicle, in addition to the loss in baseball revenue, the Braves "suffered a 40% decline in development revenue due to certain tenants deferring their payments" at The Battery during the pandemic.
Cobb County District 4 Commissioner Lisa Cupid, who was one of the lone county officials who voiced skepticism and opposition about the project as it advanced, said in a statement: "Certainly, the sports and tourism industry has been hit hard by COVID-19. I look forward to speaking with Braves Leadership on how they will address the impact on their organization."
According to the Chronicle, the team remains responsible for its $6.1 million annual payment to the county, regardless of losses. The outlet was told the Braves continue to be up on their payments, making the last one in June.
A number of projects also continue to move forward at The Battery, including the opening of Aloft Hotel, where tenants including Savi Provisions and Jeni's Ice Cream have moved in. The U.S. headquarters of the German company ThyssenKrupp are also still on schedule to open next summer, the Chronicle reports.