Maybe it is too soon for MLB to allow fans at the ballparks. The risks are still high, and the chances of spreading the coronavirus among the fans exist.
Some clubs are considering letting fans attend games; nevertheless, the league is not ready yet to host people at this time, even though some, like Red Sox president and CEO Sam Kennedy, state that their parks are good to go for opening their doors at a limited capacity.
MLB Teams Ready For Live Fans In Ballparks
The idea of having fans at the ballparks is not an option for MLB, as stated by a league spokesperson to The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal on Monday. This is becoming trendy in the MLB. Rosenthal said that league commissioner Rob Manfred suggested the topic on a call with league owners after several teams like the Rockies and Rangers pushed to begin letting fans attend the ballparks, of course, putting restrictions on the capacity of attendance.
It may sound logical that clubs and owners are seeking to have fans at the parks; they want to get back to normal life, and generate some revenue from people attending the games. Unfortunately, MLB feels the threat of COVID-19 is still too high.
The truth is that no MLB club has allowed fans to attend ballparks this season. This decision is fully based on the pandemic that has killed thousands across the country. However, Kennedy has commented on the idea that Boston might be able to have spectators at Fenway Park this summer. He even informed WEEI’s “The Greg Hill Show” last week that his club was looking forward to getting approval from MLB, the state of Massachusetts and the city of Boston.
A sensitive decision like this needs to be fully analyzed; hundreds, if not thousands, of lives might be at risk. MLB must be aware that players’ and fans’ safety is a priority no matter what.
Kennedy said, “We’ve had ongoing conversations with both the state and the city. There are three levels of approval. We’ve got to get approval and permission from Major League Baseball, first and foremost, as a league, and then we’d need to secure approvals to the state and the city. We’ve made our case, we presented to all three and we’re waiting to hear back.” Kennedy is emphatic about following experts’ health protocols in order to comply with all regulations so their approval can be a reality. He also says that the decision on which clubs can host fans in their ballparks and which ones cannot depends somewhat on Manfred.
Baseball Not Ready For Live Fans
An MLB spokesperson shared a league statement on the subject, explaining, “Given the state of the virus throughout the country and that most of our clubs do not have authorization from their local jurisdictions allowing for it, we are not able to consider hosting fans at this time.” Definitely, state and local authorities must handle this with extreme caution since there have already been a few COVID-19 spikes both inside and outside baseball.
Kennedy comments that Manfred is trying to see what the best plan is as it is related to the end of the season in September. He added, “[Manfred’s] got different municipalities, different case loads [sic] around the country. Obviously, Massachusetts has done incredibly well. We’d be sort of a model citizen in terms of having the opportunity to try and do it given how well we’ve done here.” The chance of having an approval request sounds plausible, but probably not worth any action.
MLB was looking at losses of as much as $2 billion because of the late start. With no fans in the ballpark, the league forecasts a decline in MLB revenue of about 40%. However, the alternative could potentially be worse – allowing fans might cost more in the long run. The league is not going through anything that every league doesn’t have to deal with, and it’s simply going to be a question of whether or not the leagues have been smart with their money to be able to overcome the global challenges brought forward by COVID-19.