JAMES Magazine Online: Cobb Commissioners Sign Off On $1.6 Million for MLB All Star Game

Patrick Hickey

Thursday, November 30th, 2023

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The Cobb County Board of Commissioners isn’t holding a grudge against Major League Baseball for taking away the 2021 All Star Game, unanimously approving Tuesday night a $1.6 million financial package that will go mostly toward paying overtime for staff and additional traffic and security detail for the 2025 edition of the ‘Midsummer Classic.’

The funding request was made by the Cobb Public Safety Department and the funds themselves will come out of the fiscal year 2025 general fund contingency budget.

MLB officials moved the 2021 game just months before first pitch, blaming the state’s new voting laws that Commissioner Rob Manfred claimed “clashed with our values as a sport.”

Georgia Senate Bill 202, known as the Election Integrity Act of 2021, added stricter voter ID requirements, limited the use of ballot drop boxes, shortened runoffs, and expanded in-person early voting time.  Democrats and much of the national media were quick to oppose the bill, with President Joe Biden calling it “Jim Crow in the 21st century.”

The bill is still on the books and Georgia voting numbers have continued to climb steadily since its implementation.

Regardless, the game is back on for 2025, and Cobb officials are already boasting of its anticipated economic impact.  Sports economists and local tourism professionals often debate the true impact of major sporting events like the All Star Game.  A memo from Cobb’s public safety department states that All-Star games in the past have generated between $37 million and $190 million in economic impact for host cities.

Even the very low end of that number would be another windfall for Cobb Co., making that $1.6 milli