Major League Baseball and its 30 teams are suing insurance providers to cover billions in losses as a result of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, reports the Associated Press. The lawsuit, which was filed in California in October, claims pandemic losses should be covered under "all-risk" policies. The insurance companies have refused to pay out thus far.
Here are more details from the Associated Press:
The league claims to have lost billions of dollars on unsold tickets, hundreds of millions on concessions, tens of millions on parking and millions more on suites and luxury seat licenses, in-park merchandise sales and corporate sponsorships. It also cites over a billion dollars in local and national media losses, plus tens of millions in missed income for MLB Advanced Media. It says all of those losses should be covered by their policies.
"Due to COVID-19, the Major League Baseball entities, including those of the 30 major league clubs, have incurred significant financial losses as a result of our inability to play games, host fans and otherwise conduct normal business operations during much of the 2020 season," the league said in a statement to the AP. "We strongly believe these losses are covered in full by our insurance policies, and are confident that the court and jury will agree."
In many cases the insurance companies insist financial losses stemming from the pandemic do not constitute physical loss or property damage, and thus are not covered. Obviously MLB and the 30 teams disagree. Thousands of business-related lawsuits have been filed against insurance companies amid the pandemic and surely more are coming.
Several minor-league franchises filed similar lawsuits after the minor league season was canceled earlier this year. At least one of those lawsuits, filed by the Double-A Chattanooga Lookouts (Reds), was dismissed because of a virus exclusion in their policy.
In October commissioner Rob Manfred claimed, without providing evidence, that MLB teams suffered approximately $3 billion in operating losses in 2020 because of the shortened season, and because games were played without fans in attendance.
MLB released the 2021 spring training and regular season schedules earlier this year, though it is unclear whether either will start on time.