Here’s How Much Money U.S. Sports Leagues Could Lose Amid COVID-19 Outbreak


May 3, 2020

Sports leagues in the United States will lose a big chunk of change due to the COVID-19 crisis.

According to an analysis conducted by ESPN, sports in the U.S. could lose at least $12 billion due to the coronavirus outbreak. That number could increase, too, should social distancing guidelines not be followed by the general public.

Here’s more from ESPN’s report:

The numbers include everything from the price of a ticket and a hot dog to the money you spend taking your daughter to an out-of-state soccer tournament. For example, the crisis stands to wipe out more than $3.25 billion that fans would have spent on pro sports. It would erase nearly $371 million in wages — approximately 20 million hours — for ticket takers, beer vendors and other stadium and arena employees. At least $2.2 billion of national TV revenue would be lost, as well as up to $2.4 billion in tourism-related to youth sports.

The analysis is conservative in a number of ways. It does not include projected losses from NASCAR, golf, tennis and several minor sports and gambling. The numbers also don’t account for losses in the outdoor recreation industry, including hunting, skiing, recreational golf and tennis and fishing. Outdoor recreation generated $427 billion in 2017, according to the Bureau of Economic Analysis. With sporting goods stores, golf courses and fishing tournaments shut down in parts of the country, those revenues and jobs have disappeared, too.

Complicating matters, insurance is unlikely to make up many of the losses. Although big events like Wimbledon and the Olympics held comprehensive insurance policies, the major U.S. sports leagues are not covered for the pandemic, in part because the loss of entire seasons was regarded as unthinkable, industry sources told ESPN.


Certainly, fans are itching to have sports back. And it sounds like leagues aren’t far behind.

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