Major League Baseball plans to relocate the All-Star Game to Coors Field in Denver after pulling this year’s Midsummer Classic from Atlanta over objections to sweeping changes to Georgia’s voting laws, city and state officials announced on Tuesday.
“We’re ready and we’re excited for this opportunity,” Denver Mayor Michael Hancock said at a press conference on Tuesday. “We’re honored to accept this opportunity on behalf of the Colorado Rockies and Major League Baseball and experience for all Coloradoans. This is a big deal and we should celebrate as such.”
ESPN was first to report the decision.
Hancock and Colorado Governor Jared Polis, both Democrats, made the joint announcement Tuesday afternoon. They said they expected the game to bring over $100 million in revenue to Denver and the surrounding area.
MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred also confirmed the decision Tuesday afternoon. MLB said one of the reasons Colorado was chosen was because it was already bidding to host the 2024 All-Star Game.
MLB pulled the July 13 game from Truist Park in Atlanta in response to Georgia voting rules that Republican Gov. Brian Kemp quickly signed into law March 25. Critics, including the CEOs of Atlanta-based Delta Air Lines and Coca-Cola, have condemned the changes as being too restrictive.
The Georgia law includes new limits on voting by mail and greater legislative control over how elections are run, amid a push in Republican-led states to reduce voting options after former president Donald Trump made baseless claims of widespread fraud in last year’s election.
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.
Presumably, the draft will also be relocated to Denver, says CBSSports.com’s Dayn Perry.
Kemp has vowed to defend the measure, and other Republicans have criticized MLB’s move. Texas Gov. Greg Abbott backed out of throwing the first pitch at the Texas Rangers’ home opener Monday and said the state wouldn’t seek to host the All-Star Game or any other special MLB events.
Coors Field last hosted the All-Star Game in 1998, the fourth season for the stadium and sixth for the Rockies franchise.
It’s uncertain what kind of seating capacity there might be due to COVID-19 restrictions. The Rockies had a seating capacity during their first homestand against the World Series champion Los Angeles Dodgers of 21,363 fans, which was 42.6% of usual capacity. The seating was in pods, and standing room areas weren’t available for fans to gather.
Polis said Tuesday that given the current pace of COVID-19 vaccinations, he hopes Coors Field will be at full capacity by July.
Players also weren’t allowed to sign autographs or toss baseballs into the stands, in accordance with MLB coronavirus protocols.
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