MLB Outlines Shortened Season Costs

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  • MLB is projecting a $640,000 loss for every game played without fans in an 82-game season.

Major League Baseball is preparing to lose $640,000 each game if the season resumes without fans in the stands, according to owners. The projections are based on players earning a prorated salary across an 82-game season.

MLB owners outlined the structure last week in a 12-page “Economics of Playing Without Fans in Attendance” report that suggests a $4 billion loss if players receive 89% of revenue. Teams also project their debt to increase from $5.2 billion to $7.3 billion, with the MLB central office increasing its debt load by $550 million as it seeks $650 million in additional credit. 

The MLB Players Association remains skeptical of the proposal, with MLBPA President Tony Clark and agent Scott Boras urging players to vote against it

Prior to the coronavirus outbreak, MLB projected $9.97 billion in revenue and a $95 million deficit. The new projections are $2.87 billion in revenue and $6.82 billion in expenses, with $2.36 billion heading to player salaries.

If further disruption leads to a cancellation of the postseason, an additional $787 million in media dollars would be at risk: 

  • Fox – $370 million
  • Turner – $310 million
  • ESPN – $27 million
  • MLB Network – $30 million
  • International/Other – $50 million