An Atlanta-area small business advocacy group sued Major League Baseball on Tuesday over its decision to move the 2021 All-Star Game out of Georgia.
Job Creators Network demanded the immediate return of the All-Star Game to Atlanta or for the organization to pay $100 million in damages to local and state small businesses, according to a statement.
“MLB robbed the small businesses of Atlanta — many of them minority-owned — of $100 million, we want the game back where it belongs,” said Alfredo Ortiz, president and CEO of the Job Creators Network.
“This was a knee-jerk, hypocritical and illegal reaction to misinformation about Georgia’s new voting law which includes Voter-ID. Major League Baseball itself requests ID at will-call ticket windows at Yankee Stadium in New York, Busch Stadium in St. Louis and at ballparks all across the country.”
Ortiz also said in the statement, “Small businesses in this community had valid contracts relating to the All-Star Game and other events, the result of two years of planning and all that was ripped away by fear and misinformation spewed by political activists.”
“Many states, including Colorado where the game has been moved to, have similar or more restrictive election laws,” he added.
“This move essentially tells fans of teams in many other cities that they can never again host the All-Star Game; it’s hypocritical, illegal and we won’t stand for it.”
The lawsuit follows other efforts that have also pushed back against the moved All-Star Game.
In April, Republican Sens. Ted Cruz of Texas, Josh Hawley of Missouri and Mike Lee of Utah sponsored a bill to eliminate Major League Baseball’s antitrust exemption after the league pulled the prominent game out of Georgia.
The three Republican senators cited MLB’s decision to pull the game in response to a recently passed state law to strengthen voting safeguards as the reason for introducing the legislation.
Specifically, the bill will “end MLB’s special immunity from antitrust laws,” according to a media advisory.
“What prompted this legislation being introduced was Major League Baseball’s decision to pull the All-Star Game out of Atlanta, Georgia,” Cruz said at an April news conference.
The Texas Republican added that MLB’s decision was based on “a pile of lies.”
“The legislation Georgia passed expanded early voting in Georgia. It also required identification to vote,” he said.