Los Angeles Dodgers President and CEO Stan Kasten told CNBC on Tuesday that it will take the franchise years to overcome the lost revenue experienced during the pandemic-altered baseball season.
Following a 60-game regular season schedule and no fans in the ballpark, the team will experience a revenue decline "clearly north of $100 million," Kasten said on "Squawk Alley." His comments came hours before the Dodgers could win the MLB crown, with Game 6 of the World Series against the Tampa Bay Rays set for Tuesday night. LA leads the series, 3-2.
Every franchise experienced financial disruption this season, which began in late July after a four-month delay due to the coronavirus pandemic. But Kasten said the Dodgers' missed revenue will be "as much as any team, or more, because we have so many fans and we take in so much revenue in an ordinary year. Most of that we didn't receive this year."
The Dodgers led MLB in attendance in the 2019 season, with almost 4 million tickets sold, according to statistics website Baseball Reference. The St. Louis Cardinals were second with nearly 3.5 million.
But due to safety protocols, the teams were forced to play their home games without fans. A limited number of spectators have been allowed in the ballpark for the neutral site playoff games in Texas, including the World Series.
"It's extraordinary. It's certainly not anything that anyone could plan for. It's going to take years to catch up," Kasten said of the lost revenue. "But we've managed. We've came through it so far. Hopefully, the end of this will be found before we have to start next season."
The Dodgers boast the league's second-highest payroll in 2020, at $107.9 million, according to data from Spotrac. Their opponent in the World Series, Tampa Bay, is 28th out of 30 teams, at $28.2 million. The New York Yankees hold the top spot, at $109.4 million.
Kasten, who has held his current roles with the club since 2012, said he was hopeful there would be fans back in Dodger Stadium for the 2021 season. But he added, "I think we may be among the later jurisdictions" where fans are permitted because "California has been very strict on allowing any mass gatherings."
This fall, some NFL and college football teams have fans in attendance. Kasten also noted that the NBA and NHL's upcoming seasons should commence before MLB, potentially offering a road map for safely welcoming spectators back for games. "I assume we'll be learning how to accommodate fans, little by little, so that we'll have a much better idea by Opening Day," he said.