Report: Sports Suspension Due to Coronavirus Will Cost at Least $12 Billion

Adam Wells@adamwells1985Featured ColumnistMay 1, 2020

NEW YORK, NY - MARCH 12: An NBA logo is shown at the 5th Avenue NBA store on March 12, 2020 in New York City. The National Basketball Association said they would suspend all games after player Rudy Gobert of the Utah Jazz reportedly tested positive for the coronavirus. (Photo by Jeenah Moon/Getty Images)
Jeenah Moon/Getty Images

The sports industry stands to lose billions of dollars as a result of seasons being suspended or canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic. 

Per an analysis conducted for ESPN by the St. Louis-based Washington University's sports business program leader, Patrick Rishe, the entire industry stands to lose at least $12 billion in revenue and hundreds of thousands of jobs because of the shutdown. 

The analysis noted revenue losses would more than double if the NFL and college football seasons are canceled this fall. 

Rishe made the determination based on publicly available data. 

ESPN stated that Rishe's analysis assumes the NBA and NHL cancel the remainder of their regular seasons and hold playoffs without fans, youth sports return by July and MLB and MLS can play at least half of their regular season schedule. 

From that $12 billion, $3.25 billion comes from money fans would have spent on pro sports, $2.4 billion in tourism related to youth sports, at least $2.2 billion in national television revenue and approximately $371 million in wages for various stadium and arena employees. 

Per ESPN, industry sources noted most major sports leagues didn't have insurance policies for a pandemic because "the loss of entire seasons was regarded as unthinkable."

There is still no definitive timetable for any sports leagues that have had their seasons suspended to return. ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski reported "an overwhelming majority of high-level officials" in the NBA are optimistic about playing again this season. 

Per USA Today's Bob Nightengale, Major League Baseball officials are "cautiously optimistic" about playing a season of at least 100 games starting sometime between late June and July 2. 

College football's regular season doesn't begin until August, though schools canceled their spring games because of the pandemic. The NFL regular season is scheduled to kick off Sept. 10, and the league is holding a voluntary virtual offseason program for all 32 teams.

Bleacher Report's David Gardner interviews athletes and other sports figures for the podcast How to Survive Without Sports.