Baseball’s midsummer classic will return to Seattle in 2023.
Multiple sources confirmed a report from ESPN’s Jeff Passan that T-Mobile Park has been selected to host Major League Baseball’s All-Star game in July 2023.
Neither the Mariners nor MLB would make an official statement about the situation. Though the MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred will be in town for a news conference regarding a “major announcement” Thursday.
It will be the first the All-Star game played in Seattle since July 10, 2001, which was a magical summer of baseball in the city and the Sodo district. The stadium, which was then called Safeco Field, had been open for just two years and the Mariners placed eight players on the American League All-Star team in a season where they won 116 games.
Prior to 2001, the Mariners, in their third year of existence, hosted the 1979 All-Star game at the Kingdome.
While MLB had traditionally awarded the All-Star game to teams based on a rotation of when they last held the event, allowing each team the opportunity to host it, the selection process has changed over the last decade. Teams were required to submit a bid and presentations to MLB to host the All-Star game, which has turned into a three-day event also featuring the Futures Game and the Home Run Derby. Beyond the actual activity at the stadium, the bids also had to include information about all aspects of the All-Star game, including hotels needed for staff and players, sites for off-field activities and events, amenities for fans and the city infrastructure to handle it all.
The Mariners first began working on a bid/presentation to host the All-Star game in 2018 and officially submitted it to MLB officials in 2019. Since then they’ve added information to their presentation about changes and improvements to T-Mobile Park as well as other aspects of the bid that would help them get the All-Star game.
Given the success of the 2001 game, the popularity of T-Mobile Park as a venue and Seattle’s strong bid, the Mariners were expected to be awarded a game in the window between 2023-2025. Philadelphia has already been awarded the 2026 All-Star game and the Dodgers will host the 2022 All-Star game after losing the 2020 game to the coronavirus pandemic.
Sources indicated that the expectation of hosting an All-Star game was a large part of the Mariners search when looking for a corporate sponsorships for the naming rights to the stadium in 2018. Safeco Insurance opted not to renew the naming rights deal with the Mariners when its 20-year contract expired after the 2018 season. An agreement was reached with T-Mobile for the stadium to be named T-Mobile Park in December 2018 and became official on Jan. 1, 2019.
T-Mobile has been a major corporate partner with MLB dating back to 2013. The wireless company announced a four-year extension to that partnership with MLB in March of 2019.
This story will be updated.