Across the world, sporting leagues are eyeing an eventual return to action behind closed doors. Germany has earned plaudits for its response to the pandemic and its authorities felt it was safe enough for its soccer league to return at the weekend, albeit in empty stadiums. The Bundesliga's return has come under strict conditions such as regular coronavirus testing, social distancing and a lack of spectators. As other leagues look to develop a similar path back to action, officials are weighing the health and safety risks along with hte financial ones.
In the United States, Major League Baseball is planning to start its delayed season around July 4th according to a document obtained by the Associated Press. Entitled “Economics of Playing Without Fans in Attendance”, it states that competing in empty ballparks over the course of an 82-game season would result in an average loss of $640,000 for each game. On Monday, MLB owners gave the green light to negotiations with the player's union about games returning but those talks are expected to be difficult, especially regarding an unprecedented revenue-salary split.
According to AP, the proposed method of salvaging the season would result in $4 billion in losses for the MLB assumung no agreement is reached with the players. Losses are expected to reach at least $84 million for each team if "ghost games" are set to become the new norm. The data shows that the New York Yankees would have $312 million in local losses before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization are factored in (including $100 million in bonds towards their new stadium). The Los Angeles Dodgers would also lose $232 million while the New York Mets would have the third-highest losses at $214 million.