Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Baseball might get canceled this season, putting TV networks and pay-TV providers in a position to lose as much as $587 million in national TV ad dollars, according to a new report from iSpotTV, a TV ad measurement company.

Why it matters: These figures are on top of mounting ad losses for the television industry. EMarketer expects television ad revenue to be down $10 billion in the first half of the year, due mostly to the coronavirus.

By the numbers: Baseball was off to a hot start, both from a viewership and advertising perspective.

  • ESPN said it had its largest audience ever for the opener between the Washington Nationals and the New York Yankees.
  • Those ratings helped generate $27.8 million in TV ad dollars, per iSpot.

The big picture: Baseball is one of the most lucrative professional sports franchises globally. Its media rights alone cost nearly $3.6 billion, according to SportBusiness Consulting.

  • For regional and local broadcasters, the losses would be devastating. The rights for those networks were worth a combined $1.8 billion last season.

What's next: Networks and brands have to be watching closely as the most lucrative TV franchise, the National Football League, could still potentially be on hold. The NFL canceled preseason games on Monday.

Go deeper

Biden launches $280 million ad push

Photo: Mark Makela/Getty Images

Joe Biden's campaign is launching a $280 million TV and digital ad campaign heading into the fall, targeting 15 states with a message — delivered directly from Biden — about the coronavirus pandemic and the economy.

Why it matters: The size of the buy, which advisers described on a call with reporters Tuesday night, signals a campaign that isn't worried about burning through cash — and it may force the Trump campaign, or associated super PACs, to increase their spending in response.

A quandary for state unemployment agencies

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

State agencies charged with paying unemployment benefits to jobless residents have their backs against the wall as they rush to parse President Trump's executive actions on coronavirus aid.

Why it matters: States are being asked to pitch in $100 per unemployed resident, but it’s a heavy lift for cash-strapped states that are still unclear about the details and may not opt-in at all. It leaves the states and jobless residents in a state of limbo.

Updated 23 mins ago - Health

New Zealand reports first local coronavirus cases for 102 days

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern after a press conference at Parliament on July 22 in Wellington, New Zealand. Photo: Hagen Hopkins/Getty Images

AUCKLAND, New Zealand — Auckland is locking down and the rest of New Zealand faces lesser restrictions for 72 hours after a family of four tested positive for COVID-19, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced Tuesday.

Why it matters: It's the first cases not in managed isolation for 102 days, Ardern said at a news briefing.