Manfred: MLB dealing with 'historic' debt after pandemic-shortened season
Major League Baseball took huge financial losses in order for the 2020 season to take place.
The league lost $3.1 billion during the pandemic-shortened campaign, according to a MLB official who spoke with The Athletic's Evan Drellich.
MLB totaled $3 billion in revenue in 2020 but spent $6.1 billion, a league official told Drellich, compared to 2019's earnings which came to $10.7 billion. The 30 teams combined to lose $8.3 billion overall, commissioner Rob Manfred told Sportico's Barry M. Bloom on Monday.
"We are going to be at historic high levels of debt," Manfred said, per Bloom. "And it's going to be difficult for the industry to weather another year where we don't have fans in the ballpark and have other limitations on how much we can't play and how we can play."
With profits plummeting without fan attendance - although there were a few exceptions for the National League Championship Series and World Series - and no idea of what the future may hold for baseball, the financial losses have forced teams to cut hundreds of employees around the league.
The Baltimore Orioles, Chicago Cubs, and San Francisco Giants have already laid off several people, and the Oakland Athletics appear ready to do the same.
"It is one of the tragedies in baseball this year," Cubs president of baseball operations Theo Epstein said on Oct. 5 after his organization laid off more than 100 staff members.
"Some wonderful men and women who've given a lot to this game have lost jobs and no longer have the support and the camaraderie and the foundation of baseball to lean on, and that's something that wears on all of us. Every organization is changed because of it. The very nature of working in baseball is changed because of it."
MLB's reported losses come several months after the league and the MLBPA debated over how long the regular season would be and how much players would earn in prorated salary.
Manfred also praised the union for its cooperation during the pandemic to help the campaign proceed.
"The players worked hard and really sacrificed. The club people have been great," the commissioner said.
"The (players') union has really helped. When you get that kind of cooperation you really have to feel good about it."