Jul 5, 2023 - Sports

Seattle preps for MLB All-Star Week with cleaning, murals and events

Illustration of the "206" area code embroidered on a baseball.

Illustration: Lindsey Bailey/Axios

Seattle is readying itself for the influx of tens of thousands of visitors expected for Major League Baseball's All-Star Week, which is starting Friday.

Why it matters: This year marks only the third time Seattle has ever hosted the All-Star Game and related events, which are expected to draw more than 100,000 people and generate at least $50 million in economic impact, according to Visit Seattle.

Flashback: The last time the All-Star Game was held in Seattle was 2001.

What's happening: The week of events, which will culminate in the All-Star Game at T-Mobile Park on Tuesday, July 11, is a chance for visitors to "get to see how beautiful Seattle is," Deputy Mayor Greg Wong told Axios last week.

  • To help make a positive impression, the city has been working to ramp up cleaning operations — including removal of litter and graffiti — around the stadiums, as well as downtown and in the Chinatown-International District, Wong said.
  • Wong said last week that the city didn't have an estimate yet for how much that work has cost.
  • He said it will be repaid many times over, however, by the anticipated bump in tax revenue resulting from tourism and consumer spending associated with the events.

What they're saying: "We're talking about being the focus of the baseball world, not just locally and nationally, but internationally for the course of four days," Wong said.

Plus: In addition to cleanup efforts, the city is installing signage to help direct visitors to the stadiums and other landmarks, Wong said.

The other side: Some pundits and residents have criticized the city's preparation for the All-Star Week events, arguing officials should be engaged in these types of cleanup activities year-round.

  • Wong said that not all of the city's cleanup work is tied to the All-Star Game, and that Mayor Bruce Harrell has been working for many months to clear encampments in SODO and remove graffiti in the Chinatown-International District separately from the event preparation.
  • Wong added that Seattle hasn't ramped up the pace of removing homeless encampments specifically for the All-Star events — something other host cities have been accused of doing — but rather has increased cleanups over the past year as part of the mayor's broader homelessness strategy.

What's next: Official All-Star Week events get underway Friday with the HBCU Swingman Classic. Another highlight will be the opening night of the MLB draft, which will be held at Lumen Field on Sunday.

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