ARLINGTON, Texas — Major League Baseball will play its 2025 All-Star Game in Atlanta, four years after moving the event from Truist Park to Denver's Coors Field over objections to changes in Georgia's voting rights laws.
Atlanta was awarded the 2021 All-Star Game in May 2019, but MLB moved it in April 2021, just three months before that year's Midsummer Classic was played.
"I made the decision in 2021 to move the event, and I understand, believe me, that people had then and probably still have different views as to the merits of that decision," Rob Manfred, baseball's commissioner, said Thursday during an announcement that followed a meeting of MLB team owners.
Next year's MLB All-Star Game will be at Arlington's Globe Life Field — the home of the Texas Rangers, the reigning World Series champions — and the 2026 game will be in Philadelphia's Citizens Bank Park to mark the 250th anniversary of the signing of the Declaration of Independence.
"We are thrilled that Major League Baseball has awarded the Atlanta Braves the 2025 All-Star Game," team chairman Terry McGuirk said in a release. "Time and time again, Atlanta has proven to be a world-class destination for the most exciting entertainment and sporting events."
Critics complained in 2021 that the voting rights changes in Georgia were too restrictive. Manfred made the decision to move the All-Star events and the amateur draft from Atlanta after discussions with individual players and the Players Alliance, an organization of Black players formed after the death of George Floyd in 2020.
Civil rights and voting advocacy groups, as well as the U.S. Department of Justice, filed lawsuits challenging the law shortly after it was signed by Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp, a Republican. They accused the Republican majority in the state legislature of trying to deny Black people and other voters of color equal access to the ballot box in violation of the U.S. Constitution and the Voting Rights Act.
They alleged that Republicans were trying to maintain a tenuous hold on the state after major Democratic wins in 2020. Former President Donald Trump narrowly lost Georgia to Democrat Joe Biden, and two Republican U.S. senators were unseated by Democrats in runoff elections.
"Georgia's voting laws haven't changed, but it's good to see the MLB's misguided understanding of them has," Kemp said in a statement released Thursday. "We look forward to welcoming the All-Star Game to Georgia."
This will be the third time Atlanta has hosted the MLB All-Star Game — at three different ballparks.
The 1972 Midsummer Classic was held at Atlanta-Fulton County Stadium, the home of the Braves after the team moved from Milwaukee in 1966.
After Atlanta was awarded the 1996 Summer Olympics, a new stadium was built just south of the original cookie-cutter facility. The Olympic venue was converted into a baseball park known as Turner Field and became the new home of the Braves, who welcomed a second All-Star Game in 2000.
The Braves moved north to suburban Truist Park in 2017, swayed by a deal clearing them to build an adjacent mixed-use development known as the Battery, which includes hotels, apartments, restaurants and shops. The complex has become a model for other cities looking to build glitzy new stadiums and arenas.
Although the Braves did not host the All-Star Game in 2021, they did host a trio of World Series games that year on the way to beating the Houston Astros in a Fall Classic that went six games. Thursday's news also came just hours before Atlanta right fielder Ronald Acuña Jr.'s unanimous selection as this year's National League MVP was announced.
"What's most important is that the Atlanta Braves are a great organization. Truist Park and the Battery are gems in terms of the facilities," Manfred said. "With their great fan base and rich history, Atlanta deserves an All-Star Game and we're really looking forward to being there in 2025."
The voting rights litigation is ongoing, but a federal judge last month declined to block several contested portions of the law while the legal challenges play out. U.S. District Judge J.P. Boulee wrote plaintiffs have not proven "at this stage of the proceedings" that any of the provisions have a disparate impact on Black voters or that state lawmakers knew that it would have a disparate impact on minority voters.
That means the challenged portions of the law likely will remain in effect at least through the 2024 election cycle.