Atlanta will lose out on a significant economic windfall after the MLB announced that it would relocate the league’s All-Star Game over a recently-passed controversial voting law in Georgia.
The All-Star Game has historically had a notable, positive impact on the host cities involved, according to data from the Baseball Almanac, as fans, players, sponsors and other individuals flock to the event. That typically provides business for local restaurants, hotels and other establishments.
The 2020 All-Star Game hosted in Los Angeles, for example, had an estimated economic impact of $89 million. The game the year prior in Cleveland was estimated to have generated $65 million in regional economic activity. The 2013 event in New York had a massive local payday – estimated at $191.5 million.
MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred made the decision to move the All-Star events and the amateur draft from Atlanta after discussions with individual players and the Players Alliance, an organization of Black players formed after the death of George Floyd last year, the commissioner said in a statement. A new ballpark for the events wasn’t immediately revealed.
Manfred said the MLB would maintain its plans to support local business in Atlanta.
"We will continue our plans to celebrate the memory of hank Aaron during this season’s All-Star festivities," he said. "In addition, MLB’s planned investments to support local communities in Atlanta as part of our All-Star Legacy Projects will move forward."
Georgia state House Speaker David Ralston, a powerful Republican who backed the voting law changes, said the baseball league’s decision “robs Georgians of a special celebration of our national pastime free of politics.”
Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp signed the sweeping election reform bill into law at the end of last month.
The legislation changes the rules and processes for requesting an absentee ballot, including requiring voters to present valid forms of identification. It also limits drop boxes and the early voting period for runoffs, among other provisions.
Republicans argued the legislation was necessary to shore up confidence in the election process.
Georgia was one of the key states that the Trump campaign focused on as it homed in on unproven claims of voter fraud during and after the 2020 presidential election. Biden narrowly won Georgia by roughly 12,000 votes.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.