ATLANTA (January 31, 2018) – The Atlanta Braves have announced that they will extend their Spring Training agreement with ESPN Wide World of Sports at Walt Disney World Resort through April 2019. The move was made to ensure there is enough time to complete their new facility in West Villages in the City of North Port, Sarasota County. The Braves will play their final 2019 Spring Training game in the new ballpark. The complex will officially open in April 2019 with the team’s Florida operations moving in at that time.
“We are thankful for our good friends at Walt Disney World Resort and are excited for this extension,” said John Schuerholz, Atlanta Braves Vice Chairman Emeritus. “We also appreciate the foresight and thoughtfulness of our partners in North Port, Sarasota County and West Villages in recognizing such an extension will be of benefit as we continue to make progress on our new facility. When complete, our new, state-of-the-art facility will secure our long-term goal of creating a perfectly positioned and operational Spring Training facility for the next 30 years.”
The Braves have held their Spring Training at Champion Stadium at ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex in Lake Buena Vista, Florida since 1998.
When completed, the new ballpark in North Port will feature 6,500 fixed seats and 2,500 additional general admission, including berm and concourse.
“We fully support this decision by the Atlanta Braves as the construction administrators for the project,” said Jeff Maultsby, director of Sarasota County’s Office of Business and Economic Development. “The agreements between the project partners always envisioned and addressed the possibility that 2020 could be the Braves’ first full spring in Sarasota County, and we are excited to celebrate their arrival at the 2019 spring training finale.”
The overall facility will include six and a half practice fields, 55,000 square feet of clubhouse and fitness center for the Braves along with multi-purpose fields and public space that can be used for special events by the City and County.
The complex will operate year-round with extended spring training for minor league teams, Gulf Coast League and Fall Instructional League.