Los Angeles Dodgers President and CEO Stan Kasten told CNBC on Tuesday that it will be several years before franchise losses are overcome during the pandemic-changed baseball season.
After a regular season schedule of 60 games and with no fans in the stadium, the team will see a drop in sales "well north of 100 million US dollars," said Kasten in "Squawk Alley". His comments came hours before the Dodgers could win the MLB crown. Game 6 of the World Series against the Tampa Bay Rays was scheduled for Tuesday evening. LA leads the series 3-2.
Every franchise has had financial disruptions this season, which began in late July after a four-month delay due to the coronavirus pandemic. But Kasten said the Dodgers' missed earnings "will be as much as any team or more because we have so many fans and we make so much income in a normal year. We didn't get most of it this year."
Outdoor shooting on the eve of Major League Baseball opening day postponed due to COVID-19 at Dodger Stadium on March 25, 2020 in Los Angeles, California.
Harry How | Getty Images Sports | Getty Images
According to stats website Baseball Reference, the Dodgers led the MLB in the 2019 season with nearly 4 million tickets sold. The St. Louis Cardinals ranked second with nearly 3.5 million.
However, due to security protocols, the teams were forced to play their home games without fans. A limited number of spectators were allowed in the stadium for the neutral playoff games in Texas, including the World Series.
"It is extraordinary. It is certainly nothing that anyone could plan. It will take years to catch up," said Kasten about the lost revenue. "But we did it. We did it so far. Hopefully the end of it will be found before we have to start next season."
The Dodgers have the second highest payroll in the league in 2020 at $ 107.9 million, according to Spotrac. Their World Series opponent Tampa Bay is the 28th of 30 teams at $ 28.2 million. The New York Yankees hold the top spot with $ 109.4 million.
Kasten, who has held his current role at the club since 2012, said he was confident there would be fans at Dodger Stadium again for the 2021 season. But he added, "I think we may be in the later jurisdictions" where fans are allowed because "California was very strict about allowing mass gatherings."
This fall, some NFL and college football teams have fans in attendance. Kasten also noted that upcoming NBA and NHL seasons should begin before MLB, and may have offered a roadmap to safely invite viewers back to games. "I expect we'll gradually learn how to accommodate fans so we can have a much better idea on opening day," he said.