Major League Baseball Commissioner Robert Manfred announced on Friday that the 2021 All-Star Game will no longer be held in Atlanta.
The decision follows an electoral law signed on Wednesday by Brian Kemp, the governor of Georgia, which, according to opponents, disproportionately disenfranchises colored people. This is one of the first concrete responses to the law denounced by executives in the US earlier this week.
Restaurants, hotels, car rental agencies, and other businesses make money when these big events come to town. The MLB All-Star game raised approximately $ 49 million for the local economy in Atlanta in 2000, according to the Baseball Almanac. The 2019 All-Star Game is set to raise $ 65 million for Cleveland, according to the same website.
“Over the past week we have had thoughtful discussions with clubs, past and current players, the Players Association and the Players Alliance, among others, to hear their views,” said Manfred. “I’ve decided that the best way to demonstrate our values as a sport is to move this year’s All-Star game and this year’s MLB draft.”
The new Georgian law adds guidelines for postal ballot papers and voter registration, and gives state officials more authority in conducting elections. Critics say the law will suppress voices, especially among people of color in underserved areas.
“Just as elections have consequences, so do the actions of those who are elected,” said Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms on Twitter of the MLB’s decision. “Unfortunately, the removal of the @MLB All Star game from GA is likely the first of many dominoes to fall until the unnecessary barriers to ballot box access are removed.”
“Major League Baseball fundamentally supports voting rights for all Americans and opposes ballot box restrictions,” Manfred said. “In 2020 MLB became the first professional sports league to join the non-partisan Civic Alliance to build a future where everyone is involved in shaping the United States. We pride ourselves on our platform to accomplish baseball fans and communities in our country to encourage you to continue to have the unwavering support of our game. “
Manfred said MLB will meet commitments to support local communities in Atlanta. The league is finalizing a new host city and “details of these events will be announced shortly,” he said.
Georgia Governor Brian Kemp and Atlanta Braves respond
Georgia Governor Brian P. Kemp speaks during a runoff party at the Grand Hyatt Hotel in Buckhead on January 5, 2021 in Atlanta, Georgia.
Brandon Bell | Getty Images
“Today Major League Baseball gave in to fear, political opportunism, and liberal lies,” Georgia Governor Kemp replied. “Georgians – and all Americans – should fully understand what the MLB’s decision means: breaking culture and awakening political activists who come for every aspect of your life, including sports. When the left doesn’t agree with you, facts and the truth don’t play Role. “
“This attack on our state is the direct result of repeated lies by Joe Biden and Stacey Abrams about a bill that will expand ballot box access and ensure the integrity of our elections,” added Kemp. “I’m not going to back down. Georgians are not being bullied. We will continue to advocate safe, accessible and fair elections. I spoke to the Atlanta Braves leadership today, and they told me they did not support the MLB’s decision.” “”
The Atlanta Braves baseball team said on Twitter they were “deeply disappointed” with the decision.
“This was neither our decision nor our recommendation and we are sad that fans cannot see this event in our city. The Braves organization will continue to emphasize the importance of equal choice and we had hoped our city could take advantage of this . ” Event as a platform to improve the discussion. Our city has always been known as a unity in times of division, and we will miss the opportunity to address issues that are important to our community. Unfortunately, companies, employees and fans in Georgia are the victims of this decision. “
CNBC’s Jabari Young contributed to this report.
Correction: This story has been updated to remove a reference to the 2020 Los Angeles All-Star Game that has been canceled.