DENVER – The Colorado Rockies and Major League Baseball formally announced Tuesday that the 2021 All-Star Game will be held in Denver at Coors Field this July.
Reports surfaced Monday night, but the team and league made the announcement just after 11 a.m. Tuesday. Denver Mayor Michael Hancock and Colorado Gov. Jared Polis lauded the move in a news conference at 11:30 a.m.
The Rockies and Hancock said the team and city had already been bidding for a future All-Star Game this decade and had submitted plans for hotels, event space and security, and received visits from MLB officials in recent months.
“It’s been a long year, and I can think of nothing more energizing to help advance our recovery and to boost our economy than by bringing the 2021 Midsummer Classic back to the Mile High City,” Hancock said.
“We are excited to host this year’s All-Star festivities at Coors Field,” said Rockies Chief Operating Officer Greg Feasel in a statement formally announcing the news. “We are confident that our organization along with the city, state, VISIT DENVER and the Denver Sports Commission are capable of putting on this premier event in a relatively quick time frame because of the preparations that had already been done. Summer in Colorado is something everyone in the country should experience, and we embrace this opportunity to show off our beautiful ballpark and everything our city, state and region have to offer.”
Coors Field will host its first All-Star Game since 1998. The move was made by MLB after the league decided to take the game out of Atlanta because of voting laws the state of Georgia passed in March.
“Major League Baseball is grateful to the Rockies, the City of Denver and the State of Colorado for their support of this summer’s All-Star Game,” said MLB Commissioner Robert D. Manfred, Jr. “We appreciate their flexibility and enthusiasm to deliver a first-class event for our game and the region. We look forward to celebrating our sport’s best players and entertaining fans around the world.”
After MLB announced it was taking the game of out Atlanta, both Polis and Hancock released public statements urging MLB to move the game to Denver. Polis said, “It would be good for baseball and good for Colorado.”
The two leaders also said Tuesday that Rockies owner Dick Monfort was “dead focused” on having the game moved to Denver. They said that things moved quickly when MLB reached out last week.
Hancock, Polis and Colorado Secretary of State Jena Griswold all pointed, in part, to Colorado’s election laws having some bearing on MLB’s decision to pick Colorado after moving the game out of Georgia.
“Colorado is recognized as the national gold standard for elections, and I’m thrilled with the decision to move the MLB All-Star Game to Coors Field in Denver,” Griswold said in a statement.
White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said Tuesday that President Biden was supportive of decisions made by MLB and defended a question from a Fox News reporter who wrongfully compared the voting laws of Georgia and Colorado.
“Colorado allows you to register on Election Day. Colorado has voting by mail where they send to 100% of people in the state who are eligible, an application to vote by mail,” Psaki said. “Ninety-four percent of people in Colorado voted by mail in the 2020 election, and they also allow for a range of materials to provide, even if they vote on Election Day, for the limited number of people who vote on Election Day.”
President Joe Biden, while not asked directly about the MLB All-Star Game, commented on businesses speaking out following Georgia's passed the new voting law.
"It is reassuring to see that for-profit operations and businesses are speaking up about how these new Jim Crow laws are just antithetical to who we are. There is another side to it too. The other side of it too is when they move out of Georgia, the people who need the help the most, the people making hourly wages, sometimes get hurt the worst," Biden said.
Hancock said having the All-Star Game here would bring at least a $100 million economic impact to the city, and Polis said it could bring up to $190 million to the state as a whole.
“It’s been a long year, and I can think of nothing more energizing to help advance our recovery and to boost our economy than by bringing the 2021 Midsummer Classic back to the Mile High City,” Hancock said. “…That’s incredibly good news for our small businesses or restaurants or hotels, and our workers. We have struggled and suffered through this pandemic. It took a true team effort to get to this point.”
Polis said having All-Star Week here in Denver was a big win for Colorado’s economy.
“It’s really a pivotal turning point, not just for our return to normalcy, but the opportunity to move forward to highlight Denver and Colorado nationally, showing some of the most amazing talent from across baseball – all coming here to Colorado,” Polis said.
But a leading economist said that some of those estimates could be a bit high in terms of economic impact, and that the impact on cities that hosted All-Star games from 2014-19 brought in about $70 million.
Amie Mayhew, the President and CEO of the Colorado Hotel & Lodging Association, said the hotel industry was “thrilled” at the news.
“As an industry that was devastated by the pandemic, this event will fill hotels throughout the City allowing them to bring thousands of people back to work. Knowing that as we move into spring and summer the City and State will begin to return to normal, this game could not be happening at a better time to allow fans from around the Country to fully experience the Mile High City and symbolically marking the end of the 18-month pandemic,” Mayhew said in a statement. “We are grateful to the work of all involved to bring this game to Denver and look forward to safely welcoming fans from around the Country to Denver’s hotels.”
Polis and Hancock said the next key would be for people to continue getting vaccinated in the months leading up to the July 13 All-Star Game so that COVID-19 levels have dropped significantly then and both Coors Field and Denver businesses can operate at full capacity.
“Consistent with what President Biden has said, every American who wants to be vaccinated will be able to get it by the end of May, and frankly, we’re thinking it’ll be closer to mid-to-late may, which means immunity by late June,” Polis said. “And, of course, we’re talking about a mid-July game, so there are really no concerns from that front. Everybody will have been able to get vaccinated by then. The state is pulling back on restrictions in mid-April in many parts of Colorado … plenty of room there, and I think everybody expects a fully-packed, sellout stadium in July.”
Hancock added that he was “very optimistic” that could be the case come July as well.
“It’s in our hands here in Denver and throughout Colorado to continue to do the things that we have to do,” Hancock said, “so that come July, we are fully read to be at full capacity.”
The two leaders said they were excited about what the revamped downtown Denver could bring to the experience since the last All-Star Game in 1998.
“They're going to see a much different downtown Denver than then was going on in 1998 and I'm very proud of what the people of Denver have built, and in partnership with Visit Denver, the amenities and attractions that we have brought,” Hancock said.
“We're ready, and we're excited for this opportunity,” the mayor added. “…This is a big deal, and we should celebrate as such.”
This article was written by Blair Miller for KMGH.