5 things we learned about the Braves' new stadium

11Alive was given exclusive access to join Braves officials in the Bronx and record their behind-the-scenes tour of Yankee Stadium. This is what it looks like when big business embarks on a big project. Here are five things we can say about the Braves' new stadium, from what it will require, to how it might look, to what hurdles its leaders will face.

The home of baseball's most storied franchise played host to a full batting order of Atlanta executives.

"This is a baseball monument, a baseball museum, even though it's a ballpark," Braves President John Schuerholz said.

The first thing we learned: this was far from their only tour.

This is a map of stadiums and arenas Braves officials have already visited. On this day, by the time we saw them in the Bronx, they had already spent the morning in Manhattan at Madison Square Garden.

"Here in the Bronx, Yankee Stadium, this feels very authentic to New York and the Yankees," Executive Vice President of Sales and Marketing Derek Schiller said. "There are bunch of things of how they fit into the environment and be authentic to their region."

What floored everyone on this tour? How the Yankees endlessly, all over the park, honor their tradition. The Braves may not have 27 World Series titles, but they have been around long enough for plenty of history. The team has hired an archivist to help celebrate that history at the new park.

Officials also learned another way they want their new park to be different from Turner Field.

Earl Santee has designed 18 Major League ballparks and will be working with the Braves on the new stadium.

"(Yankee Stadium) is physically a big building," Santee said. "The seats are pretty far away from the field, so I think the idea of intimacy, we're trying to bring that back to fans who watch the Braves."

We're told you can expect fewer seats overall but a greater emphasis on premium seats. They should all be closer to the field.

The one other lesson these tours have taught the Braves?

"We have to be authentic to Atlanta," Schiller said.

Unfortunately no one with the team could quite say what that means … except for the stadium's architect.

"I think we're trying to find a way that embraces more of the Southeast region architecture-wise," Santee said. "So if we have folks coming from Charleston, they feel like they belong."

But the final point is all about time:

"We have the timeline in front of us," Schuerholz said. "We're going to follow it."

The Braves will start building the stadium less than two years before it opens. They will have to decide early if they can get it done, or if they need to renew their lease at Turner Field. But every official reinforced: the new park will be ready.

"We're going to open baseball in our new stadium in April 2017. That's what we're going to do," Schuerholz added.

Some have criticized the move. Last month, the team's former owner Ted Turner said that he never would have moved the Braves to Cobb County.

"He's a visionary and he has his opinions, and he's strong in his voicing of his opinions, but that's one man's opinion," said Schuerholz. "We think the people that see the stadium and enjoy it, they will feel differently."

None of this has slowed down the Braves, who are very much on target to open their stadium in 2017.

"When the stadium opens, it's what we want it to be: unique, fun and entertaining," said Schuerholz.


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