LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- With SunTrust Park about to open, the Braves are now moving closer to getting a new spring training facility approved that would include a new stadium.
The North Port city commission approved the Braves' letter of intent to build a new $75.4 million stadium and year-round facility by a vote of 4-0 on Tuesday night. The Sarasota County commission also approved it last week.
Moving forward! pic.twitter.com/8rXWRzobV6— North Port, Florida (@CityofNorthPort) March 7, 2017
The Braves extended their lease of Champion Stadium at ESPN's Wide World of Sports through 2018. The Braves have been training there since 1997. The new facility at North Port would open in 2019, according to the letter.
While the Disney atmosphere has created a memorable fan atmosphere at the team's spring training games, its proximity to other teams has taken a toll on the Braves.
The next closest spring training stadium is 35 minutes away, and it is the Detroit Tigers' stadium in Lakeland, Florida. However, most other teams are about two hours away, not accounting for traffic.
Braves manager Brian Snitker was pleased to hear about the progress the plans for the new facility are making. He added that moving just 35 miles southwest will be an advantage to the team in the long run.
"I think it'll be good because we'll be closer to a lot more teams," Snitker said. "We're spending a lot of time in a bus, which takes away from a lot of the work you can get done."
The Braves played their last three games on the road, traveling to Bradenton, Fort Myers and Clearwater, Florida in a four-day span.
It didn't bode well. The team lost all three games by a combined score of 24-8, and it was part of a larger seven-game losing streak. That streak was snapped on Wednesday when the team finally played at Champion Stadium again and beat the Philadelphia Phillies 3-2.
While the games don't count, the time spent practicing and preparing for the 162-game regular season do.
Snitker wants more time, and this move would give it to him.
© 2017 WXIA-TV