Will the Federal Government Give Professional Sports a Bailout?

LeBron James
LeBron James during a game earlier this year. | Harry How/Getty Images

Are professional sports leagues eligible for a bailout? I'm only, like, 37 percent joking when I ask that. The COVID-19 crisis is affecting every single business in America and professional sports are no exception. Since players cannot work from home, seasons are in jeopardy and a whole lot of money is in danger of being lost. Is there any chance that the NBA, MLB, NHL and NFL can get some of that sweet stimulus money? Seriously.

According to the Wall Street Journal, the NBA's broadcast partners, ESPN/ABC and TNT, could lose close to $700 million combined if the league doesn't complete the playoffs. Baseball broadcasters, which also include ESPN, are facing a similar situation if Major League Baseball can't get the 2020 season off the ground. MLB is giving out $170 million in advance salary while they wait.

Then there's the NFL, where media members are already dreaming of incredibly complex ways to save the season, which isn't scheduled to start for months. Also, I'm sure someone will lose money if the NHL doesn't resume their season. Leagues are already working on salary resolutions.

Over the last few weeks, it's become painfully obviously just how ingrained sports are in our daily lives. There's a hole. There's nothing on television. There's no good small talk. Assuming you can get close enough to someone to need it. To anyone reading this site, sports are an important part of this country.

Just last week, the United States government passed a $6 trillion stimulus package that includes $2 trillion for small businesses, regular American people, and the airline industry. This money apparently did not exist two weeks ago and only a small percentage of it will ever actually be turned into bills you can physically hold in your hand.

Then there's the whole $500 billion or so that is going who knows where. Maybe the four major American sports leagues are already going to get a bailout in the current stimulus package. With no oversight on where the money goes, we might never find out if the NBA, Disney (which owns ESPN and ABC) and Turner will split a billion dollars to offset the loss of all these games. I mean, what's a couple billion when you're talking about trillions?

Especially since any financial troubles for these leagues over the next year could end up coming back into play the next time a league's collective bargaining agreement is up. A little assistance now could save the country from another sport stopping sometime down the road. When you consider where some of the money is going, helping out professional sports, with teams owned by people who do not need financial assistance, makes complete sense.