The piece then gets to the red meat: “The Braves will be moving from an area that’s predominantly black and relatively poor compared to whiter Cobb County — where the team says more ticket-buyers live.” Atlanta, the AP says, “is far from integrated, and the city’s politics, business and even sports teams reflect that gap.”
The implication is that the Braves move is somehow about race and class. A black Atlantan, who lives near Turner Field, is quoted saying “a large majority” of Braves supporters “are white folks.” And a Georgia Tech professor observes that major attractions often migrate toward money, and, “It becomes a class issue in a lot of ways.”
What if a large majority of Braves fans were black? What has that got to do with anything? Of course, major attractions migrate toward money — that’s what they’re in business for, not social engineering. Going after your market is a class issue? Poverty is a deterrent to ticket sales, the article informs us. Duh! It’s also a deterrent to going to the movies, eating out, buying a new car or a house and so on. So what?
The story does say “some suburban fans acknowledge the panhandling, barred windows and vacant lots in the area around Turner Field make them wary.” A Cobb man who works at a garage says his concern is security, not race. “When you leave the stadium, you run to your car because you don’t want to get mugged.” That’s the real meat in the story, not implied racism and classism.
But now that the Braves move has been dissected, when will we see such race and class analysis of other enterprises pulling out of downtown Atlanta? I don’t recall a similar piece when the Atlanta Journal-Constitution left downtown in 2010 after 145 years in the city. The AJC relocated its newsroom and offices to a building across from Perimeter Mall in what could be called a “whiter area of Fulton County,” or as Creative Loafing put it, “smack dab in the middle of the most affluent of OTP (outside the perimeter) communities.”
It happens that the AJC cited the same sort of factors the Braves did. The publisher said, “The decision was made to benefit our customers, employees and business.” That decision was evidently taken at face value while the Braves decision evidently needed analysis.
And where’s the race and class analysis of the moves by Atlanta Opera and Atlanta Ballet to Cobb Energy Performing Arts Centre? Likewise the move by the Atlanta Lyric Theatre from Midtown to Marietta.
The moves were made for sound economic reasons. And Cobb was selected as a more desirable place to live, work and run a business. That’s my analysis.