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No fans, no funds: How much St. Louis Cardinals, other MLB teams lost on game-day revenue

The pandemic forced each Major League Baseball team’s schedule to be cut from its traditional 162 games to a truncated 60-game slate
Credit: UPI
The St. Louis Cardinals bat against the Pittsburgh Pirates in an empty Busch Stadium on opening day in St. Louis on Friday, July 24, 2020. Photo by Bill Greenblatt/UPI

ST. LOUIS — The St. Louis Cardinals completed a 2020 regular season unlike any other. That includes how costly it was.

The pandemic forced each Major League Baseball team’s schedule to be cut from its traditional 162 games to a truncated 60-game slate. (The Cardinals played just 58 games due to a roughly two-week shutdown for a COVID-19 outbreak, finally clinching a playoff berth on the last day of their shortened season.) That trimmed MLB schedule meant instead of teams having 81 home games, each club hosted just 30 games.

It was even more unusual for the Cardinals. The COVID-induced shutdown forced the team to squeeze their remaining games into an even tighter schedule, in some cases playing as the home team against the Chicago Cubs at Wrigley Field and at PNC Park against the Pittsburgh Pirates. (They were also the the road team at Busch Stadium in a game against the Brewers.)

Perhaps more notably, teams played their games without fans in the stands due to social-distancing considerations.

How much did that cost each team? In the Cardinals' case, more than $254.4 million for a team that reported more than 3.48 million in attendance last season.

That's based on one projection of that impact, drawing from sports industry analysts Team Marketing Report. 

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