Major League Baseball is set to begin with a shortened season where national TV advertising sales for those collective games on TV networks -- more than $500 million per year -- are set to take a major hit.
On Tuesday, team owners and players agreed to a shortened, regular-season 60-game TV season beginning July 23 or 24 and running through September 27 with a 10-team post-season schedule beginning in October.
The season would be more than cut in half. Regular-season games have been at a 162-game schedule for each team.
Last year, Kantar Media says, Major League Baseball pulled in $583.8 million from national TV advertising -- $196.3 million for the regular-season games and $387.5 million for the post-season.
According to iSpot.tv, TV network TBS pulled in $100.3 million in national TV advertising from airing Major League Baseball games in 2019. Fox came in at $87.3 million, followed by Fox Sports at $77.8 million, ESPN with $73.5 million and MLB Network at $20.2 million.
The biggest national TV advertisers last season included Geico (with 1,488 airings of its commercials); Taco Bell (1,114); Gatorade (1,097); Papa John’s (1,007); Wendy’s (949); Lexus (865); Chevrolet (845); Home Depot (792); Expedia (770); and Progressive Insurance (768).
Negotiations between teams and players have been contentious for weeks, with a focus on issues over salaries and protections related to COVID-19 concerns.
Baseball teams' pre-season activities in Arizona and Florida have been at issue due to rising cases of COVID-19 in those states.