ATLANTA - The decision to move the Major League Baseball's All-Star Game out of Atlanta heads to federal court Thursday.
A conservative political advocacy group filed a lawsuit against the league in May for moving the game from Truist Park in response to Georgia's new election law.
The lawsuit from the Job Creator's Network demands the immediate return of the MLB All-Star game to Atlanta -- or else the defendants will have to pay $100 million in damages to state and local small businesses.
The organization said the MLB robbed the small businesses of Atlanta -- many of which are minority-owned.
In a statement, The Job Creator's Network president and CEO said it believes its case is strong enough to win.
"Unfortunately the MLB gave in to the cancel culture. MLB thought it could bend the knee and escape any consequences. They were mistaken," Alfredo Ortiz said. "JCN will hold them accountable and defend the small businesses who were harmed."
The advocacy organization said Truist Park loses ticket sales and concessions to the game, the Future Games, and the Home Run Derby contest, which would draw about 41,000 fans. It also said about 8,000 hotel reservations being canceled.
However, Major League Baseball is pushing back.
In a recent court filing, the league called the lawsuit "political theatrics" and said moving the All-Star must be allowed to protect the league's "right to demonstrate their values and preserving their freedom as private entities to determine where to hold their events."
The game was scheduled for July 13 at Truist Park, the Braves’ 41,000-seat stadium in suburban Cobb County. It would have been the third time Atlanta serves as host, having previously held the event in 1972 and 2000. The league has now planned to hold the game in Denver, Colorado.
The announcement of the move was quickly criticized by Republican Georgia officials. Gov. Brian Kemp called the decision "ridiculous" and said it hurt Georgia businesses.
"It's been minority-owned businesses that were impacted most (during the pandemic) by no fault of their own," Kemp said in April. "Now, they are affected by this decision ... at no fault of their own."
Democrat Stacey Abrams also responded by saying she was "disappointed" by the move but commended the league on speaking out against the new voting law.
"As I have stated, I respect boycotts, although I don’t want to see Georgia families hurt by lost events and jobs," Abrams said. "Georgians targeted by voter suppression will be hurt as opportunities go to other states."
The first hearing on the lawsuit will happen later on Thursday at a federal court in New York.
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