COVID-19 claims its latest sports victim as Minor League Baseball is forced to cancel the season
Yesterday, the Minor League Baseball announced the cancelation of its 2020 season due to the impact of the coronavirus pandemic. The governing body, the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues (NAPBL), made an announcement that came as no surprise as people were expecting for the season to be canceled completely. The head of the organization said that at least 160 teams were at risk of being without government assistance or private equity injections because of the current situation.
NAPBL President Pat O’Conner said the leagues “don’t have national TV revenues.” He estimated that 85%-90% of the revenue came from the ticket selling, concessions, parking and ballpark advertising, which means that most revenue has been shattered. Every income minor leagues have depended solely on the presence of fans, even beer and hot dog sales and sponsorships tied to attendance. Even if the league had run with less capacity to keep with social distancing measures, it wouldn’t have been enough to financially support all the needs from 42 teams coming from smalls cities, which are the most affected. Actually, even during regular seasons with no pandemic, several games typically get canceled due to weather conditions, which can result in more revenue cuts for the league.
The minors registered 41.5 million fans during 2019 supporting the 176 teams playing in 15 leagues – around 4,044 fans per game. So, thinking of running games without spectators is not an option for the league. That’s quite a different scenario for MLB, which is running a 60-game season, but most revenue would still come in from broadcasting rights.