Baltimore Orioles: Predicting Massive Revenue Loss in 2020

With the Baltimore Orioles and every other MLB sitting in limbo, the league’s losses continue to build each day.

Without fans walking through the gates and television airing Baltimore Orioles games, the latest prediction is a $90 million loss in the 2020 season.

The latest predictions came from an AP story on ESPN.com. With the Orioles having the lowest payroll in the game, their loss to the COVID-19 shutdown was a fraction of what other teams are expected to lose.

For comparison, large market teams like the Yankees, Dodgers, and Cubs are expected to lose between $312 and $200 million each. Only the Tigers are expected to lose less than the Orioles, with a predicted loss of $84 million.

These losses are based on the Orioles actually playing a shortened season of 82 games. MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred shared his ideas for the season with Anderson Cooper on CNN a few nights ago. He told Cooper that the MLB could lose upwards of $4 billion if no baseball is played in 2020.

According to the article on ESPN.com, revenue in 2019 came from these sources:

  • 39% local gate and other in-park sources
  • 25% central revenue
  • 22% local media
  • 11% sponsorship
  • 4% other

In April 2020, Forbes valued the Orioles at $1.4 billion, making it the 18th most valuable team in the league. Over the last five years, one million fewer fans walked through the gates at Oriole Park at Camden Yards. In the AL, only the Rays had lower fan attendance over that same time period. To make matters worse, the O’s front office is still battling with MASN and the Washington Nationals.

In 2019, the Orioles brought in $35 million in gate receipts. The O’s players’ salaries in 2020 were expected to start at just under $62 million. But, the shortened season will most likely reduce that number.

According to Manfred’s interview on CNN, the plan to reopen the MLB is contained with a 60-plus-page document. It includes details on how often players will be tested, what happens if any test positive, how people enter stadiums, and how players will travel to and from stadiums.

While there are several issues with the plan, the one that seems to strike the most chords involves pay. The proposal involves the MLB instituting a salary cap in 2020. NBCSports Washington shared this quote from the AP:

“Teams will propose that players receive the percentage of their 2020 salaries based on a 50-50 split of revenues MLB receives during the regular-season and postseason, which likely will be among the most contentious aspects of the proposal during negotiations with the players’ association.”

Players have mixed views on the idea of reopening and messing with salaries in the middle of a pandemic. Blake Snell and Bryce Harper have been two players who do not like the idea of playing in the midst of a pandemic.  Snell was one of the first to speak out, and Harper reiterated his thoughts. They shared their opinions on Twitch:

Next: Orioles Who Tested the DiMaggio Hitting Streak

Orioles players have been quiet on the issue. But, for a team that is expected to be at the bottom of the AL East and a tick above the Miami Marlins in the 2020 East Division, is it worth it to lace up the cleats and risk their lives? This is the big question that the league, front offices, owners, and players have to decide.

 

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