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Braves reach deal for new spring training facility in Sarasota

The Braves may soon have a new spring training home.

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported Monday that the team has reached an agreement on key issues with Sarasota County, Fla., to build a new facility. It could be ready by 2019.

It's a good deal for the team, too. According to the Journal-Constitution, the Braves will pay $7.5 million in up-front expenses, such as fixtures and a video board, not included in the facility's $75.4 million cost.

But the team would be responsible for only $2 million to $2.5 million or so per year in debt servicing on that cost. The county, state, a private developer and the city of North Port where the facility will be built will pick up the remainder of the cost.

The 6,500-fixed-seat facility will include 1,500 berm seats, a 55,000-square-foot building for major- and minor-league clubhouses and executive offices, six practice fields and two half fields. Eventual plans call for a privately funded, year-round "baseball academy” on site for player development and rehab purposes.

Elected officials in Sarasota County and the city of North Port still must approve the agreement. The Sarasota County commissioners are expected to consider the deal Tuesday.

If the agreement is finalized, the Braves would have only one more spring in Disney’s ESPN Wide World of Sports near Orlando, their home since 1997.

The team has been working for at least two years to find a new site on the state's Gulf Coast to move them closer to the other spring training sites in the state.


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