"Biblical losses" for Cubs are in the rearview mirror

by - Staff Writer -

The COVID-19 Pandemic was not only a detriment to the health of our nation but of course, on the economy. Since many people were trying to obey the stay-at-home ordinances and social distance protocols, the economy suffered. Less people were driving, going out to eat, seeing movies, going to athletic events and concerts, and everything in between — as a result, many jobs were lost or adjusted, and the entire world’s normal was different.

The same goes for the sports world. Due to the pandemic, the MLB was forced to play a 60-game season instead of their usual 162-game campaign. On the surface, these teams lost at least 100 games worth of TV revenue from their games — which is one of the most efficient ways for MLB teams to make profit.

So taking away one of their most significant revenue streams off the bat, you’re also missing an entire year’s worth of gamely revenue. For example, even in an off-year in 2022, the Cubs averaged 32,305 fans per game at home games. Just running some simple math, with 81 home games, and a calculated average fan experience of $110, the Cubs missed out on almost 300 million dollars in 2020. Without fans paying for tickets, paying for food, and beer — the Cubs, and every MLB team, was in a major financial hole.

That doesn’t even account for any official team apparel that is often purchased at games or some conditions that are unique to the Cubs specifically. Tom Ricketts has made a distinct effort to turn Wrigley Field into a gameday experience, a neighborhood. With that, there are Cubs-owned shops, bars, Gallagher Way, and Hotel Zachary that the Cubs rely on for revenue — all of which would not be holding up its end of any bargain during the pandemic.

Plus, in 2020, the Cubs launched their very own regional sports network dedicated exclusively to covering the Cubs. The Cubs had to account for 24 hours of programming, talent, former players, broadcasters, reporters, a website, producers, and everything in between — all of which were complicated during the pandemic, resulting in the Network flopping out of the gate, in large part due to no baseball being played.

All of these factors led to Tom Rickett's iconic quote, saying the Cubs were experiencing “biblical losses”. Coincidentally, all of those financial troubles happened during the same time that the Cubs championship core from 2016 was approaching free agency — and while many believe the Cubs could’ve extended that core with long-term deals and supplemented them with talented ball players, the Cubs ownership cut the spending that the front office was able to do.

This is one of the biggest reasons that the Cubs were forced to dive head-first into their second rebuild of the decade. The writing was on the wall when the Cubs let Joe Maddon walk as manager of the team. The rebuild began when Theo Epstein left the organization. The rebuild was signified by no major player receiving a contract extension. The rebuild was put into motion with the Yu Darvish salary dump trade and the non-tendering of World Series hero Kyle Schwarber. The rebuild was exacerbated by the massive sell-off at the 2021 deadline of 10 big league players, including Kris Bryant, Anthony Rizzo, and Javier Baez, and the rebuild is finally starting to turn toward a positive direction now.

Two years removed from the COVID-19 shortened season, the Cubs are back in business. There is a farm system with talent, a young roster with promise, aggression in the front office to acquire pieces that can help the team, and a commitment to competing that has not existed in years prior. Plus, Gallagher Way has never looked better, the entire country’s economy is in a better place, people are finally out, and the Cubs are preparing to introduce a sports book at Wrigley Field, yet another revenue stream for the Cubs to get richer.

The bigger picture it seems that the Cubs’ “biblical losses” are in the rearview mirror, and everybody is ready for the Cubs to win once again.

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