Mexican Baseball League cancels season

The Mexican Baseball League noted it was the first time in 95 years a whole season would be canceled

Mexican Baseball League cancels 2020 season over COVID-19
Other Mexican sports have resumed play with ni spectators - Photo: File photo/EL UNIVERSAL
English 02/07/2020 16:52 Newsroom & Agencies Mexico City Ariel Velázquez/EL UNIVERSAL Deportes & Newsroom/AP Actualizada 16:56

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For the first time in almost a century, Mexico has canceled its professional baseball season, the Mexican Baseball League announced Wednesday.

The Mexican Baseball League said it regretted the cancellation of the 2020 season Wednesday, noting it was the first time in 95 years a whole season had been canceled.

The summer season had been scheduled to start August 7, but the 16 team owners decided that they could not guarantee the safety of fans and players.

Sporting events in Mexico have to be played without spectators due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Read more: Mexico's Liga MX to resume play with no spectators amid the pandemic

In June, Mexico’s Liga MX announced it would resume soccer matches in July with no spectators. The matches will be broadcast on TV. Moreover, teams will have to follow a new health protocol to ensure the safety and health of their players and staff.

Likewise, Mexican boxing resumed fights with a brand-new COVID-19 protocol after a three-month halt. The bouts were scheduled in a television studio with no spectators.

Even under those conditions, the Mexico City boxing commission refused to sanction the fights, citing the pandemic. As of July 1, Mexico has registered 231,770 confirmed COVID-19 cases as well as 28,510 deaths.

However, for baseball, playing without fans would not have been economically feasible since at least seven teams depend on ticket sales to pay their players and staff.

Read more: Mexican boxing to resume fights with brand-new COVID-19 protocol

Mexican baseball teams generate 80% of their profits from the sales of tickets, beverages, food, and souvenirs.

In 2019, the teams generated approximately MXN $2 billion over these sales. The presidents of Diablos Rojos and Sultanes de Monterrey, two of the most prestigious baseball teams in the country, told EL UNIVERSAL Deportes that each institution would register losses worth MXN $35 and $40 million each.

Without generating income, most teams cannot allocate the MXN $15 million they need to operate every month.

“We need to analyze the losses, but we see it as a great opportunity to be able to regroup in order to have a better future,” said Horacio de la Vega, president of the LMB.

In order to have a larger economic boost, De la Vega was able to obtain the TV rights from all teams to negotiate a package, as different leagues in the world do, including the NFL and the MLB.

With this decision, almost 500 baseball players will be left unemployed although the LMB revealed that the teams will give them economic support.

“Since we are a responsible National League interested in evolving, we inform the following actions:

  1. The LMB and its 16 teams agree to provide economic support to the players as well as the umpires team.
  2. We will use this forced pause to implement a deep re-engineering that allows us to innovate and become stronger toward 2021.
  3. We will generate a new and updated Government System (Statutes and Rules) that have not been implemented by the LMB in the last 30 years.
  4. We will invest in the technological and digital transformation of the LMB to overcome the future obstacles our sport will face.
  5. We will invest in TV and media infrastructure to turn our weak point into a strength in the future."

Mexico City Marathon
On the same day, organizers announced the cancellation of the Mexico City Telcel Marathon 2020, which had been scheduled for August 30, citing the safety of participants and spectators. Runners who had registered for the marathon can compete in 2021 or get a refund.

Mexico City officials determined that the risk of a marathon with over 30,000 runners were too high.

Rodrigo Dosal, director of INDEPORTE, said the decision was taken for the safety and health of the competitors.