Pro baseball, basketball and football could face almost $13B loss from COVID-19


Pro baseball, basketball and football leagues could face a combined $13 billion loss due to the coronavirus pandemic, Bloomberg News reported, citing various news outlets, on Thursday.

The sports industry has taken a huge hit during the pandemic, as stadiums sit empty or with limited numbers of fans. The decline in sales is “unprecedented,” Bloomberg noted. 

The NBA reported a $1.2 billion revenue drop compared to 2019, including an $800 million loss in ticket revenue after the league moved its games to a bubble in Walt Disney World. 

NBA sponsorships and merchandise sales also fell by $400 million, according to ESPN, which obtained financial numbers given to the teams.

In addition to the pandemic, the NBA also faced a boycott from China after former Houston Rockets General Manager Daryl Morey tweeted his support for pro-democracy protesters in Hong Kong last year. China in response banned games from being broadcast, costing the NBA $200 million, according to Bloomberg. 

The NBA could reportedly see a revenue loss of up to $4 billion if it begins its next season without fans present. 

The Athletic, meanwhile, reported an MLB official said the league earned $3 billion in 2020, a drop from $10.7 billion last year, after expenses amounted to more than $6 billion. 

MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred also told Sports Business Daily that the league expects operating losses of $2.7 billion to $3 billion, saying “When you lose $3 billion in cash in one year, that’s pretty rough.”

And the NFL's revenue was expected to drop by as much as $4 billion this year, The Wall Street Journal reported in July. 

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