Rob Manfred: MLB Teams Accrued $8.3 Billion in Debt After Season With No Fans

Operational losses for MLB in 2020 totaled between $2.8 billion and $3 billion

Rob Manfred: MLB Teams Accrued $8.3 Billion in Debt After Season With No Fans
An official Rawlings Major League Baseball for the 2020 season.
Corbis via Getty Images

Following a shortened 2020 season with no fans in the stands, Major League Baseball’s 30 teams have accrued $8.3 billion worth of debt from their various lenders, according to MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred.

Manfred said the league had sustained “historic high levels of debt” and that combined operational losses for MLB during the 60-game season and expanded playoffs totaled between $2.8 billion and $3 billion.

“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,” Manfred told Sportico.

With the pandemic starting to surge again in the United States, it seems unlikely it will be business as usual this offseason or that clubs will be in a rush to hand out big contracts to free agents. Also, at least at this point, spring training starting in mid-February seems highly improbable.

“The economic losses [this season] have been devastating for the industry,” Manfred said. “You’re seeing the ramifications of that in terms of decisions clubs are making with respect to [laying off] baseball operations and business employees. I mean, you’ve never seen those type of decisions, at least since I’ve been around. In order to get through the year the clubs did a great job preserving liquidity, but they also took on a lot of additional debt.”

On the diamond, the Los Angeles Dodgers are one win away from capturing their first World Series title since they defeated the Oakland A’s in the Fall Classic in 1988.

Since winning the Series in ’88, the Dodgers have played 5,014 regular-season games, 113 playoff games and spent $3.69 billion in player payroll over 32 seasons. If they win their 114th tonight, it’ll all be worth it.

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