Election bills caused chaos in Austin, and in Atlanta where businesses lost an All-Star Game

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Saturday, October 30, 2021
Restaurant owner explains roller coaster ride amid politics, baseball
They missed out on the All-Star Game but not the World Series. An Atlanta barbecue restaurant owner explains what it's like to get caught in the middle of politics and big sporting

ATLANTA, Georgia (KTRK) -- After missing out on the MLB All-Star game, Atlanta business owners are getting a bump from the World Series after election integrity bills caused controversary in Georgia and Texas this year.

Barbecue is king in Texas, but it's also popular in Georgia, and you can find at Thompson Brothers BBQ.

"We pretty much dry rub our stuff," co-owner Corey Stephens explained. "The sauce is a factor, but not a big factor."

The restaurant features Braves memorabilia. After all, it's down the street from Truist Park.

The ballpark brought new business.

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"The apartments, the condos, and all the little stuff they put in there now, that helps bring it in," Stephens said.

This summer, businesses near the stadium took a hit.

Major League Baseball moved the All-Star game to Colorado over Georgia's election integrity bill.

Local leaders estimated it caused the area to lose $100 million. Despite the loss, Stephens said he supported MLB's decision.

"They made sure they stated why they left," Stephens said. "You can argue with someone who has standards and something, and just won't go with the norm."

In Texas, an election integrity bill also caused a stir.

Democratic lawmakers broke quorum and threw three sessions into chaos as they pushed for federal voting legislation in Washington.

No major sporting league has pulled events from Texas at this point.

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Stephens said the key to surviving that kind of move is to focus on regulars.

"It's not about the sport, or the event that's going on, it's usually how you treat your customers," Stephens explained. "That's where your money is."

Still, the World Series has helped some businesses make-up for losses. Economists estimate the area will receive an impact upwards of $10 million a day. With three games this weekend, it's a nice bump after a rocky summer.

"It's actually good," Stephens said. "Finally get to see something from it for as long as it's been here."

The economic impact isn't only happening this weekend. The Braves host watch parties like the Astros do at Minute Maid Park, which is bringing thousands of people to the neighborhood this month.

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