NEWS & ANALYSIS

CCP, Georgia & the All Star Game: What’s Going On with the MLB?


Over the last few days, Major League Baseball has been the subject of headline after headline. In case you missed it, here’s why. 

Major League Baseball renewed a contract with a Chinese telecommunications company last week that previously targeted an NBA executive over his support for human rights and democracy activists in Hong Kong. 

The MLB signed the deal with Tencent, which has significant ties to the Chinese Communist Party. 

Indeed, the contract has taken on new significance after the league’s decision to pull its All Star game out of Atlanta. 

Let’s rewind. 

Last Friday, following the passage of Georgia’s voting law, MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred said the league “fundamentally supports voting rights for all Americans and opposes restrictions to the ballot box” and will therefore not hold the All Star Game or the 2021 draft in Atlanta. 

Essentially, the MLB is canceling the entire state of Georgia for something that has absolutely nothing to do with baseball. 

Meanwhile, the MLB has completely disregarded the anti-democratic tendencies of its media partner, Tencent. 

In October of 2019, Tencent stopped airing all NBA games after then-general manager of the Houston Rockets, Daryl Morley, vocalized support for pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong. 

After a brief period of time, Tencent resumed airing most NBA league games except for the Rockets and Morley’s new team, the Philadelphia 76ers. 

This doesn’t seem to bother the MLB that much, as they extended the contract with Tencent through 2023 and will now allow access to the All Star Game and playoffs. 

It is important to note that the MLB enjoys a federal antitrust exemption. 

But, in response to the league’s attempts to undermine Georgia, Rep. Jeff Duncan (R-SC) instructed his staff to draft a bill that would remove the exemption. 

“An overwhelming bipartisan majority of Americans support requiring an ID to vote, and any organization that abuses its power to oppose secure elections deserves increased scrutiny under the law,” he said in a tweet.