How the Braves accumulated $718 million in debt

Cardboard cutouts of fans are in the seats at Truist Park.
Cardboard cutouts of fans are in the seats at Truist Park.

Credit: HYOSUB SHIN / AJC

Credit: HYOSUB SHIN / AJC

A financial report filed Monday showed how the Braves’ debt has grown to $718 million.

According to a quarterly filing by team owner Liberty Media with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, the Braves’ debt as of June 30 included $297 million from the construction of Truist Park (formerly SunTrust Park), $206 million from the construction of The Battery Atlanta mixed-use complex adjacent to the stadium, $30 million from construction of a spring training facility in North Port, Fla., and $185 million for operations.

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The Braves’ debt load has increased from $559 million at the end of 2019, with the additional borrowing used for operations and for ongoing construction of the second phase of The Battery. That phase is expected to cost $200 million by completion, with about $95 million in additional debt funding remaining, according to Liberty Media.

One way for the Braves to pay down debt could be to sell some parts of The Battery. The team sold the 531 rental apartments in the development in 2018 for $156 million.

In response to a question on a conference call with investment analysts Monday, Liberty Media CEO Greg Maffei addressed in theoretical terms the possibility of selling other portions of the development, but he expressed doubt that would happen under current market conditions.

“Depending on where we stand, what kind of valuation we would get, we might or might not try and liquidate some of The Battery portfolio,” Maffei said. “Given what’s going on in real estate, both office potential and retail potential, I’m not sure that is as likely in the near term. If we do get a fully leased-up office space, maybe that’ll be different.

“I think we’ll look and see what kind of lease-up we get and what kind of valuation we get and make a decision on what I would term alternative use of the capital.”