Major League Baseball’s decision to pull its All-Star Game out of Atlanta will cost an estimated $100 million loss in tourism revenue for the area, according to a local travel and tourism bureau.
“This event would have directly impacted our county and the state, as visitors spend their dollars on local accommodations, transportation, entertainment and recreation, food and retail throughout the county,” Cobb County Travel and Tourism said, according to WSBTV.
Cobb County, the state’s third-most populous, is located in the Atlanta metropolitan area.
“This would have been a big boost to Cobb businesses and help with recovery after the COVID-19 pandemic,” the bureau said.
As more than 8,000 hotel room reservations that had been contracted for the game are no longer needed, the county’s hospitality industry is expected to take a hit that will further slow its attempt to recover from pandemic-related losses.
“We are proud of the work that many community partners have dedicated to planning the All-Star Game activities,” the bureau added. “We will continue, as we always do, to show who we are in Cobb through our outreach, customer service and hard work”
The league’s decision came in response to a Georgia voting law that critics claim makes it more difficult for individuals, particularly black voters, to exercise their constitutional right to vote.
However, proponents of the law deny accusations that it aims to suppress votes, pointing out that the legislation does not place new limits on voting hours and makes the state’s elections more secure without restricting voter access. It even expands weekend early voting.
On Friday, MLB commissioner Rob Manfred said in a statement that after “thoughtful conversations with Clubs, former and current players, the Players Association, and The Players Alliance” he had decided that the “best way to demonstrate our values as a sport is by relocating this year’s All-Star Game and MLB Draft.”
Manfred said MLB “fundamentally supports voting rights for all Americans and opposes restrictions to the ballot box.”
Supporters have argued that the measure, which Governor Brian Kemp (R.) signed into law earlier this month, has been misrepresented.
Republican lawmakers, including Senators Ted Cruz (Texas) and Mike Lee (Utah) have called for an end to the league’s antitrust exemption in response to the decision to move the game, while former President Trump called for a boycott of baseball and “all of the woke companies that are interfering with Free and Fair Elections.”