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“It doesn’t mean I don’t want the Atlanta Braves in Atlanta,” Reed said. “We’re not going to put the city on its back financially.”

Reed touted the public’s relatively small share of costs for the NFL stadium. Long said that was lower than the average of about 70 percent in public money for stadium projects.

William Perry, executive director of the government watchdog group Common Cause Georgia, was a vocal critic of the mayor for not seeking more public input on the Falcons stadium deal. He said this week that the mayor appeared to be applying inconsistent logic by fighting for the Falcons but letting the Braves leave.

Braves executives said the decision to leave Turner Field was based on several factors, including $150 million needed to replace seats and pay for other upgrades as well as another $200 million to improve the fan experience. The team cited a lack of mass transit options in the area, too few parking spaces and limited freeway access.

“Our new location will give us the opportunity to develop the surrounding area of the new ballpark, transforming it into a mixed use, 365-day destination and creating an enhanced atmosphere for our fans during Braves games,” the team said in a statement.

Studies have shown stadium projects create only modest increases in overall tax revenue and job creation, Long said, although more teams are taking a role in developing lodging, entertainment and retail around the venues.

“In part, this is evidence of a trend where teams are more interested in development around the stadium as part of their evolving business model,” Long said, adding that it can also help with gaining approval. “However, these urban development benefits … are slow to materialize.”

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Follow Christina Almeida Cassidy on Twitter: http://twitter.com/AP_Christina.