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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

Tech ran from politics, but couldn't hide

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Tech companies that entered the 2020 election season hoping to stay out of politics find themselves more embroiled in partisan conflict than ever on Election Day.

Driving the news: Twitter and Facebook have scrambled to make late changes in complex misinformation policies — intended to dampen candidates' premature claims of victory — as they face a barrage of complaints and censorship charges from President Trump and his camp.

Biden will reverse Trump's attempt to lift COVID-related travel restrictions

Photo: Tasos Katopodis via Getty

The incoming Biden administration will reverse President Trump's last-minute order to lift COVID-19 related travel restrictions, Jen Psaki, the incoming White House press secretary, tweeted.

Why it matters: President Trump ordered entry bans lifted for travelers from the U.K., Ireland, Brazil and much of Europe to go into effect Jan. 26, but the Biden administration will "strengthen public health measures around international travel in order to further mitigate the spread of COVID-19," Jen Psaki said. Biden will be inaugurated on Wednesday, Jan. 20 and Trump will no longer be president by the time the order is set to go into effect.

Dominion sends cease and desist letter to My Pillow CEO Mike Lindell

Photo: Stephen Maturen/Getty Images

Dominion Voting Systems on Monday sent a cease and desist letter to My Pillow CEO Mike Lindell over his spread of misinformation related to the 2020 election.

Why it matters: Trump and several of his allies have pushed false conspiracy theories about the company, leading Dominion to take legal action. It's suing pro-Trump lawyer Sidney Powell for defamation and $1.3 billion in damages, and a Dominion employee has sued Trump himself, OANN and Newsmax.