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There’s no doubt that, without fans, Major League Baseball was beaten up in 2020. Teams around the league lost millions of dollars.
One team that has put out information about just how bad it was last year are the Atlanta Braves. They are the only team in baseball required to disclose their finances as they are owned by the publicly traded Liberty Media corporation.
Reports from the Atlanta Journal-Constitution state that the Braves had an operating loss of $49 million before depreciation and amortization in 2020. As far as pure revenues, the club generated $178 million.
In 2019, the Braves had revenues of $476 million and had a $54 million dollar profit. The club also added $115 million in debt due to construction of Truist Park and at their new spring training complex, bringing their total debt to $674 million at the end of 2020.
The Braves losing money is no surprise at all, as MLB commish Rob Manfred stated that Major League Baseball was looking at a collective operating loss of roughly $2.8 to $3 billion in 2020.
A number of teams are already being told they can have some fans in the stands in 2021, which should help generate some income, but at the same time, it could still take a long time to recover from the losses of 2020.
It’s all leading up to what should be a showdown over a new collective bargaining agreement in December.
Baseball has never been able to settle things quickly, so all of the reports of losses and whatnot could drag well into 2022 after the current CBA expires in December.