Indeed. It is standard business practice. I know of a few local businesses that have such things for when they don't meet sales goals, or say when the local comic shop doesn't get the shipment of new comics for the week, or when there's a computer that needs replacing, and so on and so on. Heck, we have a rainy day fund at the house for when there's the sudden need in the cold of winter for a new furnace.
We don't have a rainy day fund for a pandemic.
Replace the furnace, sure. Replace the house, nope.
I get what you're saying, I do. But look around the country, look to other businesses, and as much money as baseball takes in, consider that 30 teams did not sell a single ticket for the 2020 season, not until the shared bounty of the postseason and even then it was limited in scope as far as revenue goes. Baseball had $10.7 billion in revenue during a recent season. That's revenue, not profit. If they had a massive profit -- what would that be? Would it be more than $3 billion in losses this season that MLB claims? Would it be enough to cover consecutive seasons of $3 billion in losses.
I've mentioned before in the chat, and wrote about this recently for the Post-Dispatch: Atlanta, as one of the few teams that we can see inside, offers a glimpse of what's happened. Let's do the math:
The Braves had "Baseball Revenue" through three quarters of 2019 of $415 million. In the same nine-month period of 2020, they had "baseball revenue" of $119 million.
Operating expenses dropped, too.
But not as much.
They went from $305 million in 2019 to $143 million in 2020 for the same period. Notice anything about that? So, those three periods also don't include the final three months of the season. The operating income for the Braves in 2019 was $77 million for three periods before the final period -- which there are no games in -- and for the same stretch in 2020 it was negative-$45 million. Are you starting to see how the profits for a season are big, for sure, and they can cover losses the next season -- but not when the plug is pulled on a revenue stream that teams are build around, like ticket sales.
I've outlined in previous chats how profits from one season vanish quickly when applied to the pothole caused by a pandemic. I urge you to look at the numbers yourself. The Braves numbers are public, via Liberty Media. And you can find that information and come back to me with your view, grounded in numbers.
There have been no indication of individual pay cuts in baseball operations, other than the jobs that have been eliminated, downsized, or won't be filled. Some salaries were reduced if they were seasonal or tied to games, as you know.