Monday December 4, 2023

Sports Leagues Ready to Rebound from Pandemic

  • The four major U.S. sports leagues and the NCAA have lost at least $14.1 billion to the pandemic.
  • But a return to old form is near.
Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports/Design: Alex Brooks
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As we all know, the financial impact of the pandemic on sports and their governing bodies has been unprecedented.

The four major U.S. sports leagues and the NCAA, specifically, lost at least $14.1 billion to the pandemic, according to an estimate by Forbes. 

  • The NFL saw 2020 revenue drop to $9.5 billion after reaching $14.5 billion in 2019. 
  • NHL team values declined for the first time since 2001, with the average team’s worth falling 2% to $653 million.
  • The NBA and NCAA suffered near billion-dollar losses.
  • MLB took the biggest hit with 2020 revenue sinking to $4 billion after hitting $10.5 billion in 2019. 

But with the NBA season at its midway point, the NHL and MLB underway, and the Olympics on the horizon, the tide is starting to turn. 

“I think the vaccine season has changed everything,” Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban told Forbes. “I think we actually have full arenas sooner than anyone expected.” 

As fans pour back into stadium seats, a growing number of venues across all sports will be offering cashless, ticketless, and touchless experiences to give fans peace of mind. 

The NHL makes 70% of its revenue inside the arena, the highest percentage of the major U.S. leagues.

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