Wed, 15 Jul 2020

Cubs' Ricketts defends MLB owners

Field Level Media
03 Jun 2020, 09:19 GMT+10

Tom Ricketts, owner of the Chicago Cubs, wants baseball fans to know the league is facing "biblical losses" in 2020.

Players and owners are in negotiations about the financial split involved in a return to the field during the coronavirus pandemic.

Ricketts told ESPN on Tuesday that teams will be operating at a loss or breaking even at best.

"The scale of losses across the league is biblical," Ricketts said. "The timing of the work stoppage, the inability to play was right before the season started. We're looking at 30 teams with zero revenue. To cover the losses, all teams have gone out and borrowed. There's no other way to do it in the short run. In the long run, we may be able to sell equity to cover some of our losses but that's in the long run. Who would invest at the moment?"

Ricketts supports a season in some form or fashion, but he told ESPN that playing games without fans assures losing more money.

"Here's something I hope baseball fans understand," Ricketts said. "Most baseball owners don't take money out of their team. They raise all the revenue they can from tickets and media rights, and they take out their expenses, and they give all the money left to their GM to spend.

"The league itself does not make a lot of cash. I think there is a perception that we hoard cash and we take money out and it's all sitting in a pile we've collected over the years. Well, it isn't. Because no one anticipated a pandemic. No one expects to have to draw down on the reserves from the past. Every team has to figure out a way to plug the hole."

Ricketts said the Cubs, who have launched their own TV network, are aiming for 20 percent of their usual targeted revenue this year.

"There are scenarios where not playing at all can be a better financial option, but we're not looking at that," Ricketts said. "We want to play. We want to get back on the field. ... I'm not aware of any owners that don't want to play. We just want to get back on the field in a way that doesn't make this season financially worse for us."

--Field Level Media

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