Minor League Baseball Aid Package of $550 Million Proposed

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Minor league baseball would be able to draw from $550 million in unused pandemic relief funds under a bipartisan bill introduced Thursday.

As much as $15 million in grants would be available to each team as part of legislation introduced in both houses of Congress. The funds would be handed out by the Small Business Administration only after it was determined the money wasn’t needed as initially planned. Teams are eligible as long as they were active as of February 2020 and, in most cases, lost at least 75% of their revenue.

“The pandemic put America’s past time on the bench and deeply strained already cash-strapped minor league teams,” said Democratic Senator Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut. “Communities rely on minor league teams across the country for local jobs and small business vitality.”

Before the pandemic, minor league teams provided 3,300 full-time and nearly 32,000 part-time or seasonal jobs, according to the lawmakers pushing the bill. Unlike their major league counterparts, they couldn’t rely on TV advertising revenue to make up for lost ticket and concession sales during the pandemic. In November, a judge ruled that a group of minor league teams were not eligible for insurance payouts.

“Many of these teams are at risk of closing their doors if they don’t have additional assistance to make it through this crisis,” said Republican Representative David McKinley of West Virginia.

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