Major League Baseball (MLB) has cancelled its 2020 All-Star Game, with host club the Los Angeles Dodgers awarded rights to the next available edition of the Midsummer Classic.

Dodger Stadium was due to stage this year’s All-Star Game on July 14, but based on the health circumstances created by the COVID-19 pandemic along with governmental directives prohibiting large gatherings, the league determined the event and its week of surrounding fan activities would be unable to proceed this year.

The announcement means 2020 will be the first year since 1945 that the All-Star Game will not take place. With the Atlanta Braves’ Truist Park already named as host of the 2021 All-Star Game, the Dodgers will host the event in 2022.

“Once it became clear we were unable to hold this year’s All-Star festivities, we wanted to award the Dodgers with the next available All-Star Game, which is 2022,” said MLB commissioner Rob Manfred.

“I want to thank the Dodgers organisation and the City of Los Angeles for being collaborative partners in the early stages of All-Star preparation and for being patient and understanding in navigating the uncertainty created by the pandemic.”

The 2022 All-Star Game will mark the fourth time in franchise history that the Dodgers will hold the Midsummer Classic, including the third time in Los Angeles and the second at Dodger Stadium, which last staged the event in 1980.

Previously, the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum was the site of the second All-Star Game of the 1959 season and in the franchise’s Brooklyn lineage, Ebbets Field hosted the 1949 All-Star Game.

Dodger Stadium has been in the midst of a $100m (£79.9m/€88.4m) renovation project (pictured) to prepare for this year’s All-Star Game. The Dodgers hope the project will create a new “front door” to the stadium, with two acres of food and entertainment offerings in the new centrefield plaza and renovated pavilions central to the plans.

The centrefield bar will replace the tarp that previously stood above centrefield at Dodger Stadium. Five new lifts and four new escalators will also be fitted, along with new bridges linking the pavilions to the main seating bowl.

Two rows of ‘home run seats’ will be added to the front of both outfield pavilions and will create a barstool experience for fans through drink rails and an in-seat food and beverage service. Other improvements will include shaded areas for fans, indoor pavilion bars, new food offerings such as a vintage Dodger ice cream truck, and a new Spectrum SportsNet LA set.

Dodgers president and CEO, Stan Kasten, said: “We’d like to thank commissioner Rob Manfred for re-awarding All-Star Week to Los Angeles so quickly, as well as Mayor Eric Garcetti and Councilmember Gil Cedillo for their continued support of this premier sporting event, which will have lasting benefits for our community.”

MLB last month set out plans to commence its delayed 2020 regular season on either July 23 or July 24 in empty stadia. The season was due to have commenced on March 26, but will now consist of a 60-game regular season leading into the playoffs. The regular season was due to have 162 games over 186 days, and the new schedule will be MLB’s shortest since 1878.

Image: LA Dodgers