Sign up for our daily briefing

Make your busy days simpler with Axios AM/PM. Catch up on what's new and why it matters in just 5 minutes.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Denver news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Denver

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Des Moines news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Des Moines

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Minneapolis-St. Paul news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Twin Cities

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Tampa Bay news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Tampa Bay

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Charlotte news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Charlotte

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Photo: Tim Clayton/Corbis via Getty Images

Despite being linked to MLB's billion-dollar ball clubs, minor league baseball teams are essentially just small businesses — and like most other small businesses right now, the coronavirus pandemic has put their future in jeopardy.

By the numbers: MLB's gross revenue in 2019 was $10.7 billion, 50% of which came from media rights deals. The minor leagues, by comparison, have an entirely different model, relying much more heavily on ticket sales and the in-stadium experience.

$864 million: Minor league baseball grossed $864 million across its 160 clubs last year. That's $5.4 million per team, and a staggering 89% of that is used to pay operating expenses, according to data provided to Axios by the minor leagues.

  • $70,000 x 70 games: Minor league teams gross $70,000 per home game, which comprises over 90% of their annual revenue.
  • 15.6% reduction: With roughly 12 home games each month, teams lose 15.6% of their annual revenue with each month of lost games.
  • 3,400 full-time jobs: 160 teams, each with an average of 21 non-playing or coaching staff (whose wages are paid by their MLB club), means nearly 3,400 full-time jobs are at risk, plus another 32,000 part-time seasonal employees.

What they're saying: Add all that up, and you can understand why MLB's proposal of playing without fans isn't a viable option for the minors, where an extra rainout can be the difference between being in the black and being in the red.

"Our entire business model is people coming to our stadium. The concept of even playing a game in our stadium with no people is so far outside of our business model that it almost seems like a wasted effort to even ponder it."
— Scott Hunsicker, GM of the Reading Fightin Phils, via WSJ

The backdrop: Long before coronavirus arrived, MLB proposed cutting 25% of minor league clubs as part of a massive restructuring plan. So it's safe to say these two parties didn't have the best working relationship at the time this crisis struck.

The bottom line: The way minor league clubs operate as small businesses is one of the many charming aspects of professional baseball in this country. But if they're left to fend for themselves, the whole system is in danger of collapsing.

Go deeper: Baseball's uncertain future

Go deeper

Ben Geman, author of Generate
46 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Biden to sign major climate orders, setting up clash with oil industry

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

President Biden will sign new executive actions today that provide the clearest signs yet of his climate plans — elevating the issue to a national security priority and kicking off an intense battle with the oil industry,

Driving the news: One move will freeze issuance of new oil-and-gas leases on public lands and waters "to the extent possible," per a White House summary.

The rebellion against Silicon Valley (the place)

Photo illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios. Smith Collection/Gado via Getty Images

Silicon Valley may be a "state of mind," but it's also very much a real enclave in Northern California. Now, a growing faction of the tech industry is boycotting it.

Why it matters: The Bay Area is facing for the first time the prospect of losing its crown as the top destination for tech workers and startups — which could have an economic impact on the region and force it to reckon with its local issues.

Erica Pandey, author of @Work
4 hours ago - Economy & Business

Telework's tax mess

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

As teleworkers flit from city to city, they're creating a huge tax mess.

Why it matters: Our tax laws aren't built for telecommuting, and this new way of working could have dire implications for city and state budgets.