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The Atlanta Braves’ Finances Demonstrate the Devastating Effects of COVID-19

The coronavirus pandemic has no doubt taken a toll on the economy worldwide. We’ve seen entire industries decimated and millions out of work as a result of COVID-19.

At the same time, many of us have argued for the importance of sports in allowing Americans to lead some semblance of a normal life. We saw the cancellation of March Madness and college baseball, the postponement of the Masters and the Olympics, and drastic changes to other sports. We might not even have college football in 2020 (say it ain’t so).

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution has reported the financial statistics that the Atlanta Braves’ ownership released from the 2nd quarter of 2020, and these numbers demonstrate how devastating the coronavirus pandemic and ensuing quarantine have been.

The Braves’ revenue plunged 95% in the April-through-June quarter, compared with the same period a year ago, falling from $208 million to $11 million. The team posted an operating loss before amortization and depreciation of $26 million for the quarter, compared with a profit of $62 million in the same period last year.

Liberty Media, the team’s owners, have aggressively taken steps to lower expenses, and the company has cut the salaries of any Braves staff who make more than $50,000 a year. Those cuts will stay in place through the end of the year.

Additionally, revenues from The Battery, the mixed-use development surrounding the Braves’ stadium, have dropped by 40%. The company’s debt has risen by $20 million over the 2nd quarter of 2020 as well.

The AJC reports:

The delayed season resulted in a “reduction to all primary sources” of baseball revenue, including local and national broadcast deals, Liberty Media said. The drop in development revenue “was primarily driven by the deferral of rental income from certain tenants” at The Battery, the company said.

Even as Major League Baseball has begun playing games, without fans in the stands, ticket revenue, food receipts, merchandise sales, and parking income just aren’t there. I have no doubt that the rest of the teams in the MLB are experiencing similar devastating effects.

Trends in Georgia are looking better – in fact, as of this writing, Georgia’s rate of transmission is fourth-lowest nationwide – but we must beat this virus nationwide. We all need to do what we have to do. Wear masks. Wash hands. Social distance. We know what to do, so let’s put those things into practice.

I’m ready to go to a baseball game. I’m ready to watch the Braves and my Georgia Bulldogs in person. I can’t wait to tailgate with my amazing friends in Athens. Maybe it’s selfish, but sometimes selfish reasons are the ones that prompt people to get things done.

America is a resilient country. I have no doubt we can beat this thing and roar back better than before. We just need to do it.

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