ATLANTA -- Though the Braves are not going back to the days when their game broadcasts were preceded by a half-hour episode of The Andy Griffith Show or Seinfeld, they will go back to the same weekday start times they utilized during the many years their games were broadcast on TBS.
In an effort to alleviate some potential traffic issues that may arise when SunTrust Park opens, the Braves announced their weekday evening games will begin at 7:35 p.m. ET next year. This starting time arrangement, which was previously used by the club through the end of the 2007 season, will give fans an extra half hour to get to the stadium and enjoy the many dining and entertainment options that will be available within The Battery -- the mixed-use development that will surround the new stadium.
"It's more sort of a lifestyle thing," Braves CEO Terry McGuirk said. "We're now sort of out there where people live in the northern suburbs, so it gives people a chance to go home and pick up the kids or the family and come to the game. You've been hearing about the 'Come early, stay late' kind of thing. So, the idea of being able to go out there, go to one of the restaurants, have dinner and then come to the game is just one the amazing number of things you can have to do."
The Braves made this announcement on Wednesday, while providing part one of a three-phase update regarding the transportation preparations that are being made leading up to SunTrust Park's opening at the start of next season.
A decision to move the start time was made based on a study conducted by Kimberly-Horn, a consulting firm that determined the majority of rush-hour traffic significantly decreases around 7 p.m. ET.
"If you were trying to time it to get there before the game, you will be clear about that time," McGuirk said. "We'll see. If in year two, there is a better answer, we'll do it. We're going to do what our fans want. But this whole project is about the usability of The Battery as a fan and how interested our fans are in using it. It's something we will learn."
The Braves have designed a website, BravesUpdate.com, to provide fans a chance to see the progress being made around plans to ease congestion and enable easy access to the ballpark and mixed-use development. Parking options will surround the stadium, and there will be 14 primary access points.
This website also provides information about a smartphone app that will allow fans to buy tickets, reserve parking spaces and receive turn-by-turn navigation to those spaces.
Mark Bowman is a reporter for MLB.com. Listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.