Editor’s note: At the time of this writing, the Atlanta Braves were leading the World Series 3-2, entering Game 6 against the Houston Astros at Minute Maid Park in Houston on Nov. 2.
Regardless of the outcome of the World Series, Cobb County has ruled the event as a win in their books for economic impact.
From hot dogs to hotel stays to pearl necklaces, Cobb County officials expect that when all the numbers have been tallied the World Series will have driven millions into the local economy as hundreds of thousands come in droves to The Battery and Truist Park for the Major League Baseball playoffs.
Sharon Mason, President & CEO of the Cobb County Chamber of Commerce, said the economic impact of the World Series in the community would "absolutely" reach millions of dollars.
"The Braves have provided such a lasting economic impact that continues to grow," she said. "We are thrilled about this major economic boom and the huge grand slam for the community and the state."
Cobb County Chamber of Commerce Chairman John Loud said the World Series was an accomplishment for the Atlanta Braves and Cobb County alike.
Loud, who is set to interview the Atlanta Braves Manager Brian Snitker for the Chamber’s Marquee Monday event on November 8, said the timing of the speaking event couldn’t have been better.
“No matter how it ends, it’s been an incredible year... For them to even make it here has been an incredible accomplishment,” he said. “To navigate between the injuries, all the obstacles... to go make that happen is pretty awesome.”
Since the move from downtown Atlanta to Cobb County, the Chamber has often touted Truist Park and The Battery Atlanta as a great investment for the community and a large contributor to growing economic success in the area. In 2018, the Chamber commissioned an economic impact study with Georgia Tech. According to the study, Truist Park and The Battery bring in a net fiscal impact of about $18.9 million annually for the county.
This “Halo Effect” of the ballpark and surrounding mixed-use development will net local government $3.98 million and Cobb County schools $14.93 million annually for the next 20 years.
Loud has credited this “Halo Effect” as the reason for pizza giant Papa John’s recent move to the county and the construction of Thyssenkrupp Elevator’s North American headquarters and test tower at The Battery Atlanta. He said he expects more companies will continue moves to Cobb as a result.
President and CEO of the Braves Development Company Mike Plant said in an email with an exception of the pandemic-altered 2020 season, the Braves have experienced a growing economic impact and fan base every year.
“Truist Park and particularly, The Battery Atlanta, have become the destination we knew they would be,” he said. “In 2021 we will activate over 450 events at The Battery Atlanta and Truist Park which will generate approximately 9.5 million fans and visitors. I anticipate we will set a new retail sales record in 2021 as well.”
Cobb County Police Chief Tim Cox told the Marietta Daily Journal the weekend of the World Series was likely the busiest he had ever seen at The Battery. An unofficial count estimated tens of thousands were in attendance outside the stadium each night during the World Series.
“It’s been very busy. (We’re) constantly adjusting our traffic control plans, our crowd control plans, working with the Braves on every step and move and trying to make sure all the fans have a great experience and a wonderful time,” Cox said.
Ultimately, though, the crowds grew large enough to where access to The Battery was restricted to ticket-holders only, according to media reports. During the Fox broadcast, it was mentioned that an estimated crowd of 130,000 was within the footprint of the Battery, including the announced attendance of 43,122 inside the stadium.
If the crowded stadium, restaurants, bars, retailers and open areas in The Battery during the post season weren’t enough to tip off the influx of fans, the ticket booth confirms it. In early October, the Braves announced they hosted more than 2.3 million fans at Truist Park this year, the second-highest attendance in MLB. The Braves came only second to 2020 World Series champions the LA Dodgers, who clinched the top attendance spot with 2.8 million fans this season at Dodger Stadium.
“All of our postseason games have been sellout crowds which really adds to the atmosphere both inside Truist Park and outside in The Battery Atlanta before and after games,” Plant said.
Holly Quinlan, president and CEO of Cobb Travel & Tourism, said in addition to hosting the World Series the last weekend of October, Cobb Galleria expected 20,000 to 30,000 attendees for Anime Weekend Atlanta 2021. She said a number of other events happening in the community would bring in a flux of visitors.
“This weekend, there’s a lot of fantastic events as well and each of them brings economic impact,” she said.
Though Quinlan could not give an estimate of what the economic impact on the hospitality industry would be that weekend at the time of print, she said it would be significant.
“The impact is there,” she said. “It’s going to be felt and the number is going to be incredibly large.”
All hotels within the Cumberland area were sold out, according to Quinlan. Hotels were making the effort to push hotel occupancy to other parts of Cobb County, as well as into Fulton County and Sandy Springs.
“This is a fantastic opportunity for them,” Quinlan said. “Not only for hospitality to showcase themselves, the property and the community, but it also gives them an opportunity to bring back some of that revenue they may have lost over the last 18 months.”
As for the hotels within The Battery, rooms were sold out well before World Series Game 3 was set to begin at Truist Stadium. According to Google hotel prices, the average price to stay at The Omni at the Battery was $1,921 a night for Friday through Sunday. To compare, a two-night weekend stay at The Omni starting November 5 was $312 a night.
“Both The Omni and Aloft Hotels have been near or at capacity for all of our home games and I’m hearing hotels in Cumberland are seeing the same,” Plant said.
When asked about how the national labor shortage would affect the hospitality industry during the World Series, Quinlan said while the shortage has already made an impact on local hotels, she assured they were rallying to cover all their bases and perform their absolute best over the weekend.
“When you know that these type of events are going to be in your area, extra efforts are made to fill in any gaps that might be there,” she said.
Plant said retail tenants at The Battery are generating record sales during the postseason. He said local retailers and vendors at the stadium had not been effected by the nationwide labor shortage.
“We have seen an incredible spike in all things Braves related in our Clubhouse Store and of course in our sale of pearl necklaces thanks to Joc Pederson!” he said.
Ticket sales appear to be much more expensive for Braves fans who chose to stay local for the games. Loud, who is a post season ticket holder and attended Game 2 at Houston thanks to an invite from a friend, said the pricing for tickets at Truist Park were astronomically higher than for tickets at Minute Maid Park in Houston.
“When you went and looked at a particular game in Atlanta vs. Houston, there was, as far as inventory and supply of tickets, there were 5,000-plus tickets available for almost any game in Houston,” Loud said. “In Atlanta, there was only about 2,000 tickets available. The other thing to recall is Houston has been in the World Series I think three times over the last four years so they don’t have as much of an enticing demand as opposed to Atlanta whereas we haven’t been there for 22 years. Big difference.”
Before the World Series games began at Truist Park, the cheapest ticket available on StubHub for Game 3 was $647. The cheapest ticket available for Game 4 was $875 and $790 for Game 5.
"Even the away games, we're seeing an economic boom and that is a major factor to be looked at as well," Mason said.
Having the World Series in Atlanta for the first time in 22 years and the first time in Cobb County is a unique opportunity for Cobb to be on the world stage, Quinlan said.
That “world stage” debut was delayed when Major League Baseball moved the 2021 All-Star Game out of Cobb County over political reasons. With the Braves making the playoffs, the spotlight returned to both Truist Park and The Battery.
“I cannot be more excited for our community and for the Atlanta Braves and their organization,” Quinlan said. “The way that public safety... and all the different organizations have worked together to make this the best experience people can have in our community and keep them safe I think speaks volumes to who we are as a county.”
Loud said without the help of former State Rep. Earl Ehrhart, R-Powder Springs, Plant and the late former Cobb County Chairman Tim Lee, this opportunity for Cobb County wouldn’t have been possible.
“We hit an absolute grand slam with what Tim’s decision allowed us to do. Sadly we lost Tim (in 2019) but I put out on Facebook about how Tim Lee is now our angel in the outfield looking over and hopefully going to help us get that first world series champion in Cobb County.”