Chicago Cubs could lose almost $200 million in a shortened season

(Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
(Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images) /

Per a new report, the Chicago Cubs could lose $200 million this year due to the impact of COVID-19 on the Major League Baseball landscape.

With a national unemployment rate north of 14 percent and over 36 million Americans currently out of work, there’s no doubt the COVID-19 pandemic has perhaps permanently changed the economic landscape. That rings true for professional sports, as well – including Major League Baseball and the Chicago Cubs.

According to a new report from the league, MLB stands to lose $640,000 for every game played without fans in 2020. Now, the numbers put forth by the league and owners haven’t satiated players, who continue to push for prorated salaries, as agreed upon in a March 26 deal. But owners insist the situation has shifted dramatically since then – and it now seems almost impossible that fans are in the seats at any point this summer.

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In a call with Cubs season ticket holders, owner Tom Ricketts claims the organization will see revenues drop by 70 percent due to the lack of fans this year. Per the MLB report, league-wide revenue is comprised of “39 percent local gate and other in-park sources, followed by 25 percent central revenue, 22 percent local media, 11 percent sponsorship and four percent other”.

Ricketts and the Chicago Cubs organization stands to take a $200 million bath in local losses this year, according to the league report – the fourth-biggest loss among big league clubs, trailing only the New York Yankees, Los Angeles Dodgers and New York Mets.

As bleak a picture as this paints, it could get exponentially worse if the predicted second wave of COVID-19 strikes in the fall and claims the 2020 postseason as another victim. Based on the numbers we’ve seen, the postseason could account for nearly one-quarter of revenue this year – putting that on the chopping block could be crippling for the sport.

The players recently requested a look at league financials – and rightfully so. There’s no way they’re going to take the league at its word during the ongoing discussions that initially focused on player health and safety. It’s sad – but cash is king. Players are going to want what was promised them and owners will undoubtedly do everything in their power to minimize losses financially.

Ricketts speaks to Cubs season ticket holders in call. dark. Next

We can hope for baseball this season – but it’s going to take some serious concessions from all involved to get it done. And right now, I don’t see that as particularly likely. Hopefully, though, with further discussions and back-and-forth, the league and players will get on the same page.