Yankees president sees baseball happening in New York City this year
The president of the New York Yankees says he sees venues including Yankee Stadium and Citi Field hosting games in the city at some point this summer as the MLB comes “closer to finalizing a plan” for when and where to start its season, which was halted by the coronavirus pandemic.
“There’s no official date yet,” Randy Levine told 1010 WINS radio in New York on Wednesday. “There are many plans that all the clubs and the commissioner are looking at right now. Obviously, what happens on the ground with the virus is important to monitor on a day-to-day basis.”
“But I think we are moving closer to finalizing a plan, which we would set forth, talk to all the public health officials, make sure that they’re on board and see if we can progress,” he continued. “So I can’t give you a date right now. All I can tell you is everybody’s working really hard to get this done.”
The pandemic brought professional and collegiate sports to a halt in March. In the coming weeks, some non-contact sports will be returning, including NASCAR on May 17 and the PGA Tour in mid-June.
Baseball, however, is still in a holding pattern.
Several plans are being discussed, including beginning the season at minor league parks in Arizona, Texas and Florida. No fans would be in attendance as a precautionary measure to start the season, but could gradually be worked back in.
Gate receipts account for 40 percent to 50 percent of revenue on average for MLB teams, with TV revenue making up most of the rest.
“Gate is really, really important — the gate and everything associated with it,” Levine explained to 1010 WINS. “And so, you know, the economics are troubling. Sports is a trillion-dollar industry that employs millions of people. Not only the people that work in the stadiums, the buildings, but hospitality, apparel.”
“So we need to get going. But we need to do it in a safe way. From Jackie Robinson stepping up to after 9/11, baseball’s held a very, very special place in bringing the country some comfort after turbulent times,” he added.
“The economics are really important, but we have to deal with the reality of the economics. Obviously, television isn’t the whole ballgame as far as the financial economics of the game. Sometimes you’ve got to play the games, play ball, and there are more important things than economics.”
The Yankees are valued at $5 billion, according to Forbes, making them the most valuable sports team in the country outside of the NFL’s Dallas Cowboys, which are valued at $5.5 billion. The Yankees own the YES Network, the most-watched regional sports network in the country.
New York has had far more COVID-19 deaths than any state in the country, particularly in New York City. The overall death toll from the virus stands at more than 20,000 in the Empire State.
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