People don't often look at the adverse effects of cancel culture until it works against them. I saw people applauding Major League Baseball for moving their All-Star game out of Atlanta, Georgia; just because they disagree with their new voting laws. Not many people stopped to think about how this move would effect the economy of Atlanta, a city made up of a 50% Black population.
Table of Contents:
- The Georgia Elections Integrity Act of 2021
- Pushback & Outrage
- MLB Moves All-Star Game From Atlanta to Denver
- Colorado Voting Law Compared to Georgia
- Sporting Event Tourism
- The Effect on Atlanta's Economy (Specifically Black Businesses)
The Georgia Elections Integrity Act of 2021
You’ve probably heard about the political controversy happening in Georgia right now. It’s a polarizing subject in America as politicians on both sides have ignited the issue with their extreme narratives & mainstream media backing. The Georgia GOP passed the Georgia Elections Integrity Act of 2021 & outrage followed.
The key issue with the law; Georgia will now require ID in order to vote. The republicans see this as a smart move because it can lower the potential for voter fraud. The democrats believe this takes voting rights away from a lot of people & it seems they think it’s mostly democrat voters who will be negatively impacted.
The propaganda surrounding this issue has stirred things up, as per usual. Georgia is now essentially being cancelled. Nearly 200 businesses nationwide have spoken out against the new laws, including Under Armour, HP, and Twitter.
MLB Feels The Pressure
Major League Baseball felt the pressure and succumbed to the mainstream pushback. The league announced last week that they’d be moving their All-Star Game out of Atlanta. This decision shakes a lot of things up and also shows exactly how powerful the machine really is. Moving the All-Star game comes with a hefty price for MLB.
They had contracts set up with local businesses which more than likely contained cancellation charges or no money back down payments. The MLB also already signed partnership deals with local businesses and venues for their All-Star events.
Only MLB knows exactly how much money they are losing with this surprising move as of right now. Nonetheless, they made the move despite knowing they’d be taking on a financial loss. This shows just how powerful the system can be when they want people and businesses to walk with them. Whether you agree or disagree with the politics, you’ve gotta acknowledge the problematic nature of the level of influence and power held.
Colorado & Georgia Are... The Same?
Speaking of agreeing or disagreeing with the politics, MLB moved the All-Star game to Denver, Colorado. Quick fact about Colorado: they have very similar voting laws as the ones recently passed in Georgia. Georgia Governor Brian Kemp noted that Colorado also requires a photo ID to vote. You tell me how that makes sense because I’ve got nothing. If the voting law in Georgia is the issue here, wouldn’t you avoid moving your event to another state with the same key law?
Stimulate The Economy
The bigger cities all across America always lobby to host major sporting events. There's a reason they all want it; potentially hundreds of millions of dollars entering their city’s economy. Small businesses thrive, the community gains recognition, and the city gets more in taxes.
Most major sporting events have evolved into being week long tourism attractions. The leagues now have events all throughout the week and fans show up early just to be a part of the action. This means you have fans, team personnel, media, corporate employees, families of the teams, etc all coming to the city for an entire week. These people need a place to stay, food to eat, things to do & hopefully the host city has some dope and entertaining attractions for these people to spend money on.
Sporting Event Tourism
When I researched the economic impacts of hosting sporting events back in 2018 as part of my Sport Management degree studies, the numbers jumped out at me. Not only does the event bring a huge increase in travelers coming through the city, these people are spending more than the typical tourist does in that same city. During the week of Super Bowl LII in 2018, visitors in the Minneapolis-St. Paul region stayed 3.9 days on average & spent $608 per day. Typical tourists in the Minneapolis area only spend around $124 per day.
A study done by Rockport Analytics showed that the Minneapolis-St. Paul region had a positive economic impact of $400 million from Super Bowl LII. The study considered local spending and subtracted the difference from these net numbers. However, an important aspect to consider is the multiplier effect. There’s no real way to accurately account for how many dollars get spent multiple times throughout the days of the event.
These numbers are obviously different for the MLB All-Star game because it isn’t nearly on the level of the Super Bowl, but those numbers give you an idea of the potential money that will be lost for Georgia; Atlanta specifically. I wouldn’t be surprised if other leagues & event organizers in other industries also pull out of Georgia, causing a spiraling loss of tourism dollars in a city that has been thriving with small businesses.
We now know MLB took a financial hit due to this decision. This doesn’t have nearly as bad of an effect on MLB as it does on the economy of Atlanta. It’s estimated that MLB and its fans would have brought $100 million into the city’s economy due to tourism spending. Major League Baseball, and the powers that be, basically wire transferred that revenue to Denver.
The city of Atlanta just lost probably $100 million or more of tourism revenue. The money would have been distributed throughout businesses, to the city via taxes, and to anybody else who knows how to take advantage of an opportunity and get their hands on some money. Let’s dive deep into why it’s so important to understand what’s happening here.
Atlanta, Georgia has been a hot place to move as of late. People are coming from all over the country to Atlanta and that obviously means more jobs need to be created as more people enter and settle down there. Event management would give a ton of temporary jobs throughout the week of events, such as the SEC Championship Game or MLB All-Star game.
In a city like Atlanta, with a population made up of 50% Black people, the conclusion can be drawn that moving those jobs to Denver or other cities disproportionately affects Black people in Atlanta above other races. Denver is getting these jobs and this money now, with only 10% of their population being Black.
Black Business In Atlanta
Now, let’s talk business. A report showed that 30% of businesses in Atlanta are Black owned. These companies employ an average of 15 workers, with average wages/salaries of almost $28,000 per employee. Although not every Black owned business (or business in general for that matter) is tied to tourism dollars, many can be. Some industries won’t be affected here, but the ones that will just saw $100 million dollars fly out the window.
Atlanta has a HUGE presence of Black owned restaurants. This is something I generally live by; If I’m traveling to a different city, I’m eating the best thing the city has to offer. In Atlanta, the best food is at black owned restaurants.
I’m sure there are plenty of MLB fans who were thinking the same & planned on spending at local restaurants as opposed to chains that are accessible in many other places. Black owned restaurants literally shaped the cuisine scene of Atlanta & they would have benefited tremendously by the All-Star game coming to town, especially after a super tough year for the industry as a whole.
Another big area that event tourism helps is hotels and other lodging businesses. Shopping, transportation, entertainment, clubs, etc. are other areas to consider. Are you noticing a trend yet? Black owned hotels, retail stores and entertainment venues/businesses are a huge part of Atlanta’s culture and would have taken a nice piece of that $100 million pie.
The new voting laws in Georgia led to outrage from the Democrats. As usual, the businesses and media followed, leading to Major League Baseball eventually pulling their All-Star game from Atlanta. This will disproportionately negatively effect black businesses in the city with the tourism money now going to Denver, Colorado. Colorado has the same key voting law as Georgia, so it's clear that this was just a publicity stunt to grift off of the political climate. Who loses here? The Black community and Black businesses of Atlanta, as well as other small businesses in the city.