Major League Sports Lost Massive Amounts of Money in 2020

March 10, 2021 Updated: March 10, 2021

Professional sports leagues have lost massive amounts of money since the world saw activity suspensions due to COVID-19 last year.

A whopping $14.1 billion dollars were lost in revenue, and the value of teams also saw a decline, according to an estimate by Forbes.

NHL team values decreased for the first time in twenty years by an average of 2 percent, while NBA teams saw a 4 percent increase, the smallest growth in ten years.

Forbes also reported that for the first time in 4 years, the paydays of the top-earning athletes fell in 2020. All of the top 100 on the list earned $3.6 billion in total, a 9 percent decrease compared to 2019.

Epoch Times Photo
Canelo Alvarez, of Mexico, left, swings at Erislandy Lara, of Cuba during their super welterweight fight, Saturday, July 12, 2014, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/John Locher)

Compared to last year, Boxer Canelo Alvarez earned $57 million less, golfer Phil Mickelson saw $11.6 million less, baseball player Clayton Kershaw had a $3.5 million decrease, basketball player Chris Paul got $6.8 million less, and basketball player Joel Embiid got $4.9 million less.

The biggest financial loss for the sports industry has been due to the cancelation of games at stadiums. TV ratings were expected to have increased due to this, but the contrary happened: pro sports profits dropped by billions of dollars in 2020 across all major leagues.

TV ratings plummeted remarkably—to about an average of half of last year’s figure.

Front Office Sports reported that the league that suffered the greatest was the MLB at $5.2 billion. The league was widely criticized for appeasing the Marxist-inspired Black Lives Matter and other leftist movements.

Following the baseball league, the NFL suffered the second-biggest losses at $2.7 billion, followed by the NBA, which missed projections by $1.5 billion.

The sports outlet also reported that TV ratings dropped hard compared to 2019. U.S. Open golf viewership dropped by 56 percent and the Stanley Cup by 60 percent. The NBA finals and U.S. Open tennis dropped by nearly half of the ratings from last year.

The WSJ reported that TV networks have been struggling to make up for the poor ratings and needed to re-negotiate deals with advertisers.

Gibbs Haljun, investment lead at WPP PLC ad-buying firm Mindshare, told the WSJ: “Even as surefire as the NFL has been—and the last couple years, NFL ratings stood up much better than network prime-time ratings—we are now in a situation where the NFL is declining.”

NBC was hit hard by the sharp decline in ratings. An ad during a Ravens-Steelers match formerly cost $1 million for half a minute, but it only drew 11 million viewers during NBC’s Thanksgiving broadcast, about half the viewership compared to 2019.

According to WSJ, some advertisers didn’t have to pay to air their ads because NBC had to make up for the poor ratings of previous games.