Cobb spokesman: Economic impact estimates of All-Star Game came from MLB and Braves

092420 Atlanta: Major League Baseball, the Atlanta Braves, and officials from the City of Atlanta and Cobb County today unveiled
the official logo of the 2021 All-Star Game. The logo is seen during a video on the center field scoreboard while the Atlanta Braves play the Miami Marlins in a MLB baseball game at Truist Park on Thursday, Sept. 24, 2020 in Atlanta.   “Curtis Compton / Curtis.Compton@ajc.com”
092420 Atlanta: Major League Baseball, the Atlanta Braves, and officials from the City of Atlanta and Cobb County today unveiled the official logo of the 2021 All-Star Game. The logo is seen during a video on the center field scoreboard while the Atlanta Braves play the Miami Marlins in a MLB baseball game at Truist Park on Thursday, Sept. 24, 2020 in Atlanta. “Curtis Compton / Curtis.Compton@ajc.com”

Credit: Curtis Compton / Curtis.Compton@

Credit: Curtis Compton / Curtis.Compton@

Editor’s Note: This story has been updated to accurately reflect a statement from Braves’ executive Mike Plant about the economic return of Truist Park to taxpayers.

Cobb County Chief Financial Officer William Volckmann sent a memo to the county manager last week, saying that the Major League Baseball All-Star Game at Truist Park in July would cost taxpayers about $2 million in expenses but the county would see a “robust return” on the investment.

“In the past, hosting cities have experienced an economic impact ranging from $37M to $190M,” Volckmann wrote in the memo. “Many of our surrounding hotels/motels are already completely sold out and the travel and tourism industry, restaurants and event venues will certainly benefit from the All-Star Game.”

But county officials acknowledged to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution Monday that any windfall won’t necessarily come back to county government.

The memo ended up as supporting material in an agenda item for Tuesday’s commission meeting, at which commissioners will be asked to approve the $2 million expense. And the economic impact figures in the memo were provided to Volckmann by Major League Baseball and the Braves, county spokesman Ross Cavitt said.

Volckmann’s memo does not mention the source of the $37 to $190 million economic impact calculation. It does reference data from the online Baseball Almanac showing that “the Midsummer Classic is a significant economic boon to hosting cities,” but no specific figures are attributed to the Almanac.

“These numbers are ridiculous and do not conform to existing studies of the economic impact of MLB’s All-Star Game,” said J.C. Bradbury, a nationally known expert on sports economics and a professor at Kennesaw State University. “If anything, studies show there is a negative impact on sales revenues.”

Cavitt could not identify the years that made up the data or what went into the economic impact calculation, but acknowledged that the game is unlikely to provide a big payoff for county taxpayers:

“The actual impact to the county bottom line is going to be minimal,” he said.

Volckmann said in the memo that the timing of the event will create additional impact.

“Given this will be the first national and international sporting event open to the public post-Covid and as more individuals will be vaccinated, we anticipate this event to have an enormous sociological and economic impact to the County,” Volckmann wrote.

If commissioners approve the expense, most of the $2 million will go to public safety costs for the game, such as training, equipment and housing for law enforcement, according to a spreadsheet that accompanied the memo.

Cavitt said discussions with commissioners on Monday to finalize the agenda for the meeting were completely focused on safety concerns. He also said that all sorts of other business and entities, other than county government, would benefit from having MLB’s annual showcase in Cobb.

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