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MLB projects $4 billion loss in return

League said players’ prorated salaries would result in an average loss of $640K per game

A darkened Chase Field, home of the Arizona Diamondbacks, sits empty as Major League Baseball owners gave the go-ahead on a proposal to resume play with an 82-game season with no fans.
A darkened Chase Field, home of the Arizona Diamondbacks, sits empty as Major League Baseball owners gave the go-ahead on a proposal to resume play with an 82-game season with no fans.Ross D. Franklin/Associated Press

Major League Baseball told players their prorated salaries would contribute to an average loss of $640,000 for each game over an 82-game season in empty ballparks, according to a presentation from the commissioner’s office to the union obtained by The Associated Press.

Painting a picture of a $10 billion industry shuttered by the contagion, the 12-page document titled “Economics of Playing Without Fans in Attendance” and dated May 12 was an initial step in negotiations aimed at starting the delayed season around the Fourth of July.

Teams say the proposed method of salvaging a season delayed by the coronavirus pandemic would still cause a $4 billion loss and would give major league players 89% of revenue.

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They contend they lose more money with each additional game played. The players' union, however, believes clubs would lose less money with more games. In addition, many teams and/or their owners have stakes in their regional sports network that would benefit from additional games.

Owners voted Monday to propose salaries be based on a 50-50 split of revenue, a framework players say is tantamount to the kind of salary cap they will never accept. Teams gave the players' association their virus-testing plan Friday and have waited to make their economic proposal.

The New York Yankees alone would have $312 million in local losses when calculating their earnings before interest, depreciation, taxes and amortization. The Los Angeles Dodgers were at $232 million in local losses, followed by the New York Mets at $214 million, Chicago Cubs at $199 million and Boston Red Sox at $188 million.

Detroit would have the lowest negative EBIDTA — an accounting measure used to assess profitability — at $84 million, with Baltimore at $90 million, and Pittsburgh and Tampa Bay at $91 million each. Figures exclude distributions from the central office, which projects to collect $1.34 billion in media revenue.

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The figures were calculated by MLB and its clubs, and the frequently skeptical union already has requested a slew of documents from MLB.

MLB said 2019 revenue was 39% local gate and other in-park sources, followed by 25% central revenue, 22% local media, 11% sponsorship and 4% other.

Teams fears a second wave of the coronavirus would devastate finances if renewed government restrictions cause cancellation of the postseason, which brings in $787 million in media money. The document detailed payments: $370 million by Fox, $310 million by Turner, $27 million by ESPN, $30 million by the MLB Network and $50 million from international and other.

NY to reopen horse, auto racing tracks

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Bundesliga resumes play

Germany’s Bundesliga soccer league resumed Saturday after a two-month break due to the coronavirus, but with no fans in the stadiums. The Ruhr derby between Borussia Dortmund and Schalke kicked off in an empty stadium as all games began amid strict hygiene measures . . . Gio Reyna, the son of former US national team captain Claudio Reyna, was set to make his first professional start for Dortmund when the Bundesliga resumed Saturday but the 17-year-old American got hurt during warmups before a match against Schalke. Reyna made his debut for Dortmund on Jan. 18, becoming the youngest American in the Bundesliga at 17 years, 2 months, 5 days . . . Former Arsenal left-back Kenny Sansom, who played for England in the 1982 and 1986 World Cup, is receiving treatment in a London hospital for an unknown condition. A message on his Twitter account read: “Kenny is currently ill in hospital. He is being well cared for and does not have COVID-19." No other details were given about the 61-year-old Sansom’s condition, although media reports said he had suffered a serious head injury. Sansom played 86 times for England and won the League Cup with Arsenal in 1987. . . Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, the director general of the World Health Organization, said it will not be easy to make next year’s Tokyo Olympics a safe global gathering after the pandemic. Speaking at a joint news conference with the IOC, Ghebreyesus called for “national unity and global solidarity” to fight the coronavirus outbreak ahead of the Olympics. The Games, postponed this year, should bring athletes from more than 200 countries to Japan. The Summer Games opening ceremony is now set for July 23, 2021.

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Redskins WR Latimer arrested in Denver

Washington Redskins wide receiver Cody Latimer is facing five charges, including felony illegal discharge of a firearm, following his arrest in a Denver suburb Saturday morning. The Douglas County sheriff’s office says deputies arrested the 27-year-old Latimer after responding to a report just after midnight of shots fired inside an apartment in Englewood, Colo. “We are aware of the situation and have informed the NFL League Office," a Washington Redskins team spokesman said. "We will continue to gather more information and have no further comment at this time.” Deputies say they found three individuals in the apartment at the Zenith Meridian Apartments, one with minor injuries unrelated to a gunshot. Latimer was taken into custody and is also facing charges of second-degree assault, menacing, prohibited use of a weapon and reckless endangerment. Latimer posted a $25,000 bond and was released. Latimer joined the Redskins in March after two years with the New York Giants and four years before that with the Denver Broncos . . . The Los Angeles Rams re-signed defensive end Morgan Fox and released defensive tackle Tanzel Smart.

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