Left Menu
Development News Edition

Baseball's minor leagues cancel 2020 seasons

Baseball's minor leagues canceled their seasons because of the coronavirus pandemic, and the head of their governing body said more than half of the 160 teams were in danger of failing without government assistance or private equity injections.

PTI | New York | Updated: 01-07-2020 10:29 IST | Created: 01-07-2020 09:59 IST
Baseball's minor leagues cancel 2020 seasons
Representative Image Image Credit: Storyblocks

Baseball's minor leagues canceled their seasons because of the coronavirus pandemic, and the head of their governing body said more than half of the 160 teams were in danger of failing without government assistance or private equity injections. The National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues, the minor league governing body founded in September 1901, made the long-expected announcement on Tuesday. The minors had never missed a season.

"We are a fans-in-the-stands business. We don't have national TV revenues," National Association president Pat O'Conner said during a digital news conference. "There was a conversation at one point: Well, can we play without fans? And that was one of the shortest conversations in the last six months. It just doesn't make any sense." O'Conner estimated 85-90 percent of revenue was related to ticket money, concessions, parking, and ballpark advertising. The minors drew 41.5 million fans last year for 176 teams in 15 leagues, averaging 4,044 fans per game. MLB teams are planning for a 60-game regular season and most of their revenue will derive from broadcast money.

"I had a conversation with the commissioner, and we weren't unable to find a path that allowed us to play games," O'Conner said. "It wasn't an acrimonious decision on our part," O'Conner said many minor league teams had received money through the federal Paycheck Protection Program Flexibility Act. "That was a Band-Aid on a hemorrhaging industry," he said. "Many of our clubs have gone through one, two, maybe three rounds of furloughs. In our office here, we've had varying levels of pay cuts between senior management, staff, and we've furloughed some individuals, as well, and are just about to enter in the second round of furloughs." He hopes for passage of H.R. 7023, which would provide $1 billion in 15-year federal loans from the Federal Reserve to businesses that had 2019 revenue of USD 35 million or less and "have contractual obligations for making lease, rent, or bond payments for publicly owned sports facilities, museums, and community theaters." In addition, the Professional Baseball Agreement between the majors and minors expires September 30, and MLB has proposed reducing the minimum affiliates from 160 to 120.

"There's no question that what the pandemic has done is made us somewhat weaker economically," O'Conner said. "I don't think it's challenged our resolve. I don't think it's impacted our desire to stick together and get a good deal." There have not been substantive talks for about six weeks. "There are very many teams that are not liquid, not solvent, not able to proceed under normal circumstances, and these are anything but normal circumstances given the PBA and the uncertainty of the future for some of these ballclubs," O'Conner said. "So I think the coronavirus has really cut into many clubs' ability to make it. And I think that we're looking at without some government intervention, without doing something to take on equity partners, you might be looking at half of the 160 who are going to have serious problems." MLB already has told clubs to retain expanded 60-player pools, of which 30 players can be active during the first two weeks of the season starting in late July.

Conner said the financial impact of the pathogen might extend until 2023. "As serious as the threat from Major League Baseball was," O'Conner said, "this threat from the coronavirus, it transcends any list that anybody wants to make with respect to the possibility of teams not being around in the future."


TRENDING

OPINION / BLOG / INTERVIEW

Why COVID-19 is unstoppable in USA despite it being ranked at the top of GHS Index?

Several worst-hit countries such as Italy, France, Spain, the UK, Canada, and Russia have peaked COVID-19 cases in April. Almost all of them have gradually flattened the curve. However, the USA is setting new daily records of infections tha...

COVID-19 seems cooking biggest ever global scam

The increasing number of corruption cases on COVID-19 funds from throughout the world and involvement of high profile persons indicate that the countries cant ignore corruption in their pandemic response programs. This has generated the nee...

Health Management Information Systems lack holistic, integrated, and pandemic resilient character

Being a part of the United Nations system, the World Health Organization WHO deserves its share of rebuke for its alleged failure issue COVID-19 health emergency alerts on appropriate time. However, the pandemic has also exposed loopholes i...

Pride in the time of coronavirus: a welcome move online?

This year is different in many ways not least as celebrations are also taking place against the dramatic backdrop of a global health crisis and a resurgence in grassroots activism following the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis. ...

Videos

Latest News

Octogenarian reunited with family six months after he went missing in south Delhi

An 85-year-old man suffering from memory loss was traced from South Delhis Sangam Vihar area and reunited with his family, almost over six months after he went missing from his home in Govindpuri, police said on Sunday. Police had received ...

Sunday curfew brings Karnataka to a standstill

Roads wore a deserted look and shops remained shut during the second Sunday curfew to help fight COVID-19, bringing Karnataka to a virtual standstill. Most vehicles stayed off roads today including city buses, autorickshaws, cars and two-wh...

Can't demand signed copies of online RTI applications: CIC to Army

Demanding a signed copy of an online RTI application negates the whole purpose of such a mechanism, the Central Information Commission has said while cautioning the army to refrain from such a practice. Information Commissioner Divya Prakas...

Covid-19 also a 'corrector' that requires us to repurpose our lives: Naidu

The Covid-19 pandemic should not be seen only as a disaster but also as a corrector that prepares the society for the next challenge by requiring us to repurpose our lives, Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu said on Sunday. In the Facebook pos...

Give Feedback