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For MLB, moving All-Star Game out of Georgia is a financial whiff

MLB All-Star game moving to Denver
Colorado governor and Denver mayor announce MLB All-Star game coming to Denver 19:04

Local Atlanta officials have said MLB's decision to relocate its July 13 All-Star Game will cost the region an estimated $100 million in lost tourism dollars. But the decision to move the event is also a financial swing and a miss for the baseball league.

That's because MLB officials signed partnership contracts with Georgia businesses and venues across Cobb County for All-Star Game services, such as the Omni Hotel at the Battery Atlanta and the Cobb Galleria Centre, according to local tourism and chamber of commerce officials. Some 8,000 local hotel rooms were set aside for league officials and fans through MLB contracts, according to the Cobb County Travel and Tourism Bureau.

Such contracts likely had cancellation clauses requiring MLB to pay a fee for not going forward with the game in Atlanta, sports management experts said. What's unclear is how much money in total those local businesses have charged MLB and if the baseball league has already paid them.

The Cobb Galleria Centre was slated to host an interactive MLB exhibit during the weeklong All-Star celebration. The event space has not decided how much it will charge the league for pulling out, a Galleria official told CBS MoneyWatch. The Omni Hotel did not respond to requests for comment.

MLB relocated the game after Georgia lawmakers passed sweeping changes in election voting rules. The changes have been labeled by Democrats as a deliberate attempt to suppress voters of color. State Republicans contend the changes will help ensure the integrity of elections.

Soon after the voting changes passed, civil rights activists and dozens of Black business executives pushed major companies like Delta Air Lines and UPS to publicly denounce the legislation. They also pressured MLB to relocate the All-Star Game, also known as the Midsummer Classic, to Denver, Colorado. 

MLB did not respond to requests for comment on how much moving the game will cost the league. 

Taxpayers on the hook

Cancelling the event also means Georgia misses out on the revenue that MLB's All-Star Game would have generated to repay the financing for the Atlanta Braves' Truist Park stadium. According to bond documents, Cobb County taxpayers are on the hook if the stadium's revenue falls short of what's needed to repay the principal and interest on $392 million in bonds issued in 2015 to help construct the facility, which is located about 10 miles northwest of downtown Atlanta.

Atlanta mayor on MLB relocating All-Star Game from Georgia over controversial voting law 05:28

Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms told CBS This Morning she fears MLB is just one of many events this year that could leave Georgia because of the voting changes. Atlanta is the nation's 10th largest economy and among the biggest losers from MLB's decision are working-class Georgians, Bottoms said.

"This is hurting the economy of our state and that's not good for anyone, no matter what side of the aisle you are on," she said. 

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