With the success of the Super Bowl Pregame Show already a glowing memory, the Pier is ramping up for more major sporting festivities — this time celebrating the MLB’s annual All-Star Game coming to Dodger Stadium.
With the big game set for July 19, Major League Baseball is planning a series of “All-Star Week” events for Angelenos to enjoy. While activations typically take place in the immediate vicinity of the hosting stadium, this year the MLB plans to kick the festivities up a notch with a three-day beach-themed “All-Star Oceanfront” festival in Santa Monica from July 15 to 17.
The festival is intended to be a celebration of Los Angeles’ beach and athletic culture and will feature a range of sporting and wellness programming. The activities, which are free and open to all, will be hosted on the Pier deck parking lot and adjacent beach area.
“There are certain things that naturally come to mind when you think of summertime, and among those are, of course, Major League Baseball and the Santa Monica Pier,” said Pier Corporation Executive Director Jim Harris. “So this opportunity for us to partner on this great event is going to make for a very, very special summertime experience here at the Pier!”
To commemorate and build excitement around the All-Star game coming to Los Angeles, a baseball diamond will be set up on the Santa Monica beach to host a series of community and celebrity games. Youth leagues from Santa Monica and the LA area will be invited to participate in games and clinics, and members of the public will be able to sign up online to play on the diamond for free. There will also be a game with special guests including a former player and celebrity fan.
For optimal game viewing, the MLB will be setting up temporary beachfront bleachers. The beach area will also include a yoga space, which will host a free class a day for approximately 200 people, in addition to photo opportunities and baseball themed sand sculpting.
Up on the Pier deck parking lot, there will be a series of baseball related activities as well as baseball themed food and drinks. The MLB intends on working with existing Pier vendors to supply the provisions and ensure that local businesses benefit from the festivities. Pier activities will include batting cages, pitching cages, Esports, a make your own custom baseball card station, MLB merchandise, giveaways and music from DJs and local artists.
Large scale events are not typically allowed on the Santa Monica beach during the busy summer months due to the City’s desire to preserve maximum access for beachgoers.
According to a City staff report, the MLB worked closely with a range of City departments to ensure its event proposal was in line with community objectives. These include safety and security, sustainability, traffic management and supporting local businesses. Notably, the MLB aims to host a zero waste, water efficient and carbon neutral event that leaves the area in the same condition it was prior to the event.
The MLB’s proposal was supported unanimously by City Council in a March 8 meeting, with the exception of Councilmember Kristin McCowan as she recused herself from voting due to a conflict of interest.
The staff report outlined several benefits the City stands to receive from the proposed event.
“Considerable benefit to the City’s brand, global visibility, and reputation would accrue from one of its most iconic and picturesque locations being used as a key event site related to a major, globally followed sporting event,” stated the report. “This was demonstrated as recently as February 2022 with the NFL’s Super Bowl LVI in Inglewood, for which NBC Sports located one of its primary pre-game broadcast locations on the Santa Monica Pier with a stunning backdrop of the iconic Ferris wheel and beachfront. Such activations and brand enhancement provide long-term boosts to economic investment and regional, national, and international tourism in Santa Monica.”
Other benefits include revenue generated from transient occupancy (hotel) taxes, sales tax and parking revenue from visitors who come to Santa Monica for the event as well from staff and sponsors who will be in the area for the week of the event activation. The festival will also provide the City with relevant experience in the lead up to the 2028 Summer Olympics when the beach volleyball games will take place on the Santa Monica beach.