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MLB pulls 2021 All-Star Game out of Atlanta due to Georgia’s new restrictive voting law

Dominant League Baseball commissioner Robert Manfred announced Friday that the 2021 All-Star Game will no longer be held in Atlanta.

The finding follows an election bill signed on Wednesday by Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp, which opponents say disproportionately disenfranchises people of color. It’s one of the chief tangible responses to the law, which was denounced by business executives across the United States earlier this week.

Restaurants, caravanserais, rental car agencies and other businesses make money when these big events come to town. The MLB All-Star regatta generated about $49 million for the local economy when it was hosted in Atlanta in 2000, according to Baseball Almanac. The 2019 All-Star Event was projected to bring in $65 million for Cleveland, according to the same site.

“Over the last week, we have promised in thoughtful conversations with Clubs, former and current players, the Players Association, and The Players Alliance, among others, to heed to their views,” Manfred said. “I have decided that the best way to demonstrate our values as a sport is by relocating this year’s All-Star Adventurous enough and MLB Draft.”

Georgia’s new law adds guidelines around mail-in ballots, voter registration and provides state officials more evidence around how elections are operated. Critics say the law will suppress votes, especially among people of color in underserved closes.

“Just as elections have consequences, so do the actions of those who are elected,” Atlanta mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms give the word delivered on Twitter of MLB’s decision. “Unfortunately, the removal of the @MLB All Star game from GA is likely the 1st of many dominoes to fall, until the unessential barriers put in place to restrict access to the ballot box are removed.”

“Major League Baseball fundamentally supports voting reasons for all Americans and opposes restrictions to the ballot box,” Manfred said. “In 2020, MLB became the first professional sports league to go the non-partisan Civic Alliance to help build a future in which everyone participates in shaping the United States. We proudly toughened our platform to encourage baseball fans and communities throughout our country to perform their civic duty and actively participate in the sponsor process. Fair access to voting continues to have our game’s unwavering support.”

Manfred said MLB will honor commitments to truss local communities in Atlanta. The league is still finalizing a new host city and “details about these events desire be announced shortly,” he said.

Georgia Governor Brian Kemp and Atlanta Braves respond

Georgia Gov. Brian P. Kemp speaks during a run-off appointment night party at Grand Hyatt Hotel in Buckhead on January 5, 2021 in Atlanta, Georgia.

Brandon Bell | Getty Statues

“Today, Major League Baseball caved to fear, political opportunism, and liberal lies,” said Georgia Gov. Kemp conjectured in response. “Georgians – and all Americans – should fully understand what the MLB’s knee-jerk decision means: cancel culture and woke national activists are coming for every aspect of your life, sports included. If the left doesn’t agree with you, in point of facts and the truth do not matter.”

“This attack on our state is the direct result of repeated lies from Joe Biden and Stacey Abrams yon a bill that expands access to the ballot box and ensures the integrity of our elections,” Kemp added. “I will not back down. Georgians determination not be bullied. We will continue to stand up for secure, accessible, fair elections. Earlier today, I spoke with the directorship of the Atlanta Braves who informed me they do not support the MLB’s decision.”

The Atlanta Braves baseball team said on Twitter it is “deep down disappointed” by the decision.

“This was neither our decision, nor our recommendation and we are saddened that fans will not be able to see this circumstance in our city. The Braves organization will continue to stress the importance of equal voting opportunities and we had hoped our city could use this in any case as a platform to enhance the discussion. Our city has always been known as a uniter in divided times and we will miss the time to address issues that are important to our community. Unfortunately, businesses, employees, and fans in Georgia are the victims of this settlement.”

CNBC’s Jabari Young contributed to this report.

Correction: This story was updated to remove a reference to the 2020 All-Star distraction in Los Angeles, which was canceled.

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