Red Sox

Report: Red Sox suffered MLB’s third-worst estimated 2020 revenue losses due to pandemic

The study by Penn National Gaming estimates the Red Sox lost just over $175 million in ticket revenue, ranking behind just the Los Angeles Dodgers and Chicago Cubs.

Red Sox Fenway
Fans hang a banner as they watch from the Green Monster seats during Wednesday's game between the Boston Red Sox and the Tampa Bay Rays. Elise Amendola/AP
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Red Sox president Sam Kennedy raised eyebrows last year by claiming the team lost out on more than $100 million by the end of the 2020 season due to lack of in-person attendance during the COVID-19 pandemic.

A new report suggests those claims weren’t an exaggeration.

A study by Penn National Gaming estimated that the Red Sox lost more than $175.7 million in ticket revenue alone last season without fans in the stands in 2020. That number ranks higher than all but two teams in all of Major League Baseball — the Los Angeles Dodgers ($183.4 million in estimated losses) and Chicago Cubs ($179.1 million).

The league itself, the data suggests, was out almost $2.5 billion without live attendance, with the top 10 hardest-hit teams — including the Red Sox, accounting for almost $1.3 billion of that lost revenue.

The estimates are based on average ticket prices and home game attendance figures for 2019, the last fully normal baseball season on record.

The Red Sox, who ranked sixth in MLB in 2019 fan attendance at 2,915,502 (35,994 fans per game) according to Baseball-Reference and had an average ticket price of roughly $60 that season, missed out on a projected $2.17 million for each game played without paying customers in the seats. And that’s without accounting for the lack of estimated food, beverage, merchandise, or souvenir revenue from the ballpark, which the study does not project.

The team stands to earn at least some of that money back in 2020 with fans returning to Fenway Park at increased ticket prices in a limited capacity — average attendance at the Sox’s six home games thus far has been 4,582, in keeping with the park’s 12 percent capacity restriction during the pandemic. 

But even with sites like Seat Geek listing average Fenway Park ticket prices at $123 — which would be a 105 percent increase over 2019 average admission costs — the Red Sox have a long way to go to get back to pre-pandemic revenue levels.

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