SAVANNAH, Ga. (WSAV) – Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp reacted strongly this weekend to Major League Baseball’s decision to pull a July All-Star Game from Georgia’s capital city.
“In the middle of a pandemic, Major League Baseball put the wishes of Stacey Abrams and Joe Biden ahead of the economic well-being of hard-working Georgians who were counting on the All-Star Game for a paycheck,” he said.
In a statement, MLB’s baseball commissioner says he made the decision to protect the league’s values and its views on voting rights.
It comes after Georgia’s passage of a controversial voting law that some say makes it harder for people in communities of color to cast their ballots.
Many worry it could hurt Atlanta restaurants, businesses, and hotels that were anticipating the crowds. Others fear those losses could trickle down to the Coastal Empire.
The Baseball Almanac says in recent years, host cities like Cleveland and Los Angeles have benefited from up to $89 million in economic revenue.
While that may now be a problem in Atlanta, Georgia Southern University (GS) Economics Professor Richard McGrath says it will not be as big of a problem in the Hostess City.
“The effects of Atlanta losing the All-Star Game is going to be quite small here locally,” he said.
For one, McGrath says there are likely very few local businesses servicing the Atlanta venue.
He also says — though the two cities are close — few people would have made Savannah a part of their All-Star trip.
“The beach season at Tybee, July, is certainly very attractive — but it’s going to be attractive nonetheless,” he explained. McGrath went on to say that many tourists — who mostly comprise of couples — visit Savannah during the milder spring and fall months.
And finally, McGrath backed up his opinion with a thought that very few Savannahians would have gone to Atlanta in the first place. Those who planned to go will now most likely stay in Savannah.
“Ironically, one of the impacts here might be having that money stay here instead of going to Atlanta,” said McGrath.
Though Savannah may exit unscathed by the MLB’s decision, McGrath warns that the area’s booming film industry may soon be threatened.
“Savannah is a place where production companies come and film movies and do other things, and we may lose some of that, though I have no idea how much.”