ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) – Gates closed. No fans. No hots on the grill.
And most significantly, no baseball.
That has been the scene at Rochester’s Frontier Field, home of the Rochester Red Wings, since what would have been Opening Day on April 9.
“We’re still trying to remain hopeful that there’s a chance we’ll be playing some games at Frontier Field this year,” said Dan Mason, the team’s general manager.
There is growing speculation about whether a minor league season would happen, and if it did happen, whether fans would be allowed in the stands.
“We’re just in wait-and-see mode right now,” said Mason.
Fan patronage accounts for a sizable portion of revenue for a club like the Red Wings, which brings in money from concessions, merchandise, advertising, and of course, the tickets themselves.
“All of those four revenue streams that we have are really dependent on bodies in the ballpark, whereas in the major leagues, certainly they’ll make a lot less this year if they can’t have any fans in the ballpark, but they can still play games and make revenue just based on their television agreements,” said Mason.
But even if minor league games start up, the effect of the COVID-19 has taken, and will continue to take, a toll on minor league ballclubs like the Red Wings.
“That would be pretty devastating, even if we could play games in July and August, it would be from a financial standpoint, pretty devastating for us,” said Mason.