Pandemic Could Create Economic Issues For Sports Teams For Years
The coronavirus pandemic "may create not merely ripples but tidal waves in the sports industry with repercussions that could be felt well beyond the uncertainty surrounding the 2020 season," according to Alex Speier of the BOSTON GLOBE. Speier questioned what will happen to free agency, and if teams go without any additional revenues from games this year, or additional games without fans, "will they look to slash payrolls?" Smith College professor of economics Andrew Zimbalist "anticipates owners will slash player salaries to offset losses." Zimbalist said, "The rational way to deal with that is to say to the players, 'Look, you get paid in our system according to how much revenue you generate. You're going to generate on average 40 percent less because we're not getting gate, concessions, and sponsorship revenue. So we're going to reduce everyone's salary by 40 percent." Speier noted leagues can "look to offset losses from game attendance by re-examining what they offer fans who aren't in stadiums, arenas, and ballparks." NYU Tisch Institute for Global Sport Associate Dean Vince Gennaro said, "Attendance revenues may go down substantially but these people are going to have disposable dollars to spend on their passion for sports. What if the Red Sox can sell a virtual season ticket, through VR, a kind of enhanced MLB At-Bat version, that has maybe a third of the games in virtual reality" (BOSTON GLOBE, 4/19).