No, the Atlanta Braves are not for sale

The Atlanta Braves are a publicly traded company and you can buy a stock of “Atlanta Braves Holdings, Inc”. right away.

But no, the team as a whole is not for sale.

Liberty Media, the parent company that originally acquired the team from Time Warner in 2007, split the Braves and their various assets and liabilities – Truist Park, The Battery Atlanta, associated debt – in Atlanta Braves Holdings Inc. in June of last year. The organization trades under three different tracking stocks with the stock names “BATRA”, BATRB” and “BATRK” depending on the type of common stock being tracked (Class A, B or C common stock).

Questions were raised about a potential sale of the team a few days ago, when Liberty Media President and CEO Greg Maffei was speaking at MoffettNathanson’s Media, Internet & Communications Conference. In response to a question about whether the team could potentially be available for purchase, Maffei did not respond: “The one-year anniversary (of the Braves spinoff) is coming up in a few months, and we’ll see,” a Maffei said. “We always try to be good stewards of shareholder value, and we’ll see what comes out and what doesn’t.”

John Malone, president of Liberty Media contacted Sportico to clarify that Atlanta Braves Holdings, Inc. not only was not for sale, but that there were mechanisms in place that would prevent a sale in the near future.

“The Braves are not for sale, and the company that owns the Braves is not for sale,” Malone said in a telephone interview. “When we split up the Braves, I personally had to sign a statement to attorneys stating that I had no intention or intention of selling my ownership interest in the Braves.”

Malone then explained that no one in the organization had expressed to him a desire to begin a sales process. “They didn’t ask me to do anything involving Braves ownership,” Malone said. “Terry (McGuirk, president and CEO of Braves Holdings) and the guys have done a fabulous job with the Braves, we are extremely proud of the team, the performance and especially the real estate project.”

The real estate project Malone is referring to is The Battery Atlanta, adjacent to Truist Park and considered the gold standard for mixed-use developments built in conjunction with a new stadium. Braves Holdings has developed nearly two million square feet of mixed-use space including retail stores and restaurants, several hotels and multi-family residential options, all in the area around Truist Park.

In the organization’s latest quarterly report covering the first quarter of 2024, revenue from the mixed-use development segment increased 13% to $15.1 million.

Malone did not rule out some sort of ownership transaction ever happening, explaining that a hypothetical sale would only happen “with the full and enthusiastic support of the management team that runs the Braves,” but reiterated that it would be far in the future.

“The reality is the team is not for sale,” he said. “And it’s prudent of me not to even engage in those kinds of discussions until the derivative transaction is very old and very cold.”

The full interview with journalist Anthony Crupi is available on Sportico.