The Chicago Cubs laid off about 25% of their business staff on Thursday because of a loss in revenue and in anticipation of an uncertain 2021, sources familiar with the situation told ESPN.
The move follows a significant round of cuts on the baseball side in August.
Based on advice from medical experts, as well as restrictions because of local ordinances, the Cubs are not expecting full capacity inside Wrigley Field at the beginning of next season.
It’s possible only season-ticket holders will be allowed to attend games. They’ll get first priority as they make up about 50% of overall ticket holders, which is about the same capacity the team is expecting to allow inside the stadium.
The Cubs expect to miss out on about 75% of their revenue in 2020, according to sources, because of the COVID-19 outbreak that has limited the season to 60 games, without fans in the stands. That could add up to a $125 million to $140 million loss.
Uncertainty in the next collective bargaining agreement between the league and its players also is contributing to the overall financial picture of the Cubs, according to sources.
“This is through no fault of their own and had nothing to do with their performance, talent or contributions,” a team source said when asked by ESPN about the lost jobs. “This was a difficult decision but the goal was to restructure the organization based on the current operating environment with losses of more than $100 million anticipated next year. We’re no longer a business that welcomes 3.3 million fans and we’re not sure when that business will resume.”
The team is hopeful to get back to full capacity at Wrigley Field later in the 2021 season, but with no guarantee from medical experts about when there might be a vaccine, the team is preparing for reduced capacity for as long as necessary.