Not even a World Series title could make the Los Angeles Dodgers immune from financial losses during a season without fans, so the team was forced to lay off employees throughout the organization on Wednesday.
The move follows the same made by teams throughout baseball as a typical 162-game season was reduced to 60 games because of the COVID-19 pandemic, all with no fans in attendance. Paying fans did not attend MLB games until a limited number were allowed at the National League Championship Series and World Series at Arlington, Texas.
The Dodgers won their first title in 32 years when they defeated the Tampa Bay Rays in six games at Arlington. But team president Stan Kasten estimated losses exceeding $100 million in 2020.
“While the Dodgers had a championship season, the organization has not been immune from the widespread economic devastation caused by the coronavirus,” the Dodgers said in a statement. “Since March, we have worked hard to minimize the impact on our employees. The ongoing economic crisis, however, forces us to make difficult personnel decisions throughout the organization, going forward for the 2021 season.”
Teams reportedly are preparing for the possibility of playing next season without fans as well, although there is the hope that venues can begin to welcome fans again in 2021.
“This is a heartbreaking decision,” the Dodgers said in their statement. “This year, more than ever, we are truly grateful for the role each member of our Dodgers family plays in our success.”
The Dodgers’ annual revenue is among the highest in baseball with the team drawing three million fans in 18 of 19 seasons before playing in an empty home stadium in 2020. The Dodgers also own their own television network, although it has a limited reach in the Los Angeles area.
Teams that have recently announced organization-wide layoffs along with the Dodgers include the Baltimore Orioles, Boston Red Sox, Chicago Cubs, Houston Astros and San Francisco Giants.