The Red Sox experienced the largest ratings drop in MLB during 2020.
“Overall, the league saw a 11% decline in ratings compared with a 4.2% increase in viewership. The biggest ratings drop was by the Boston Red Sox on NESN (a 58% decline—2.14, compared with 5.15 in 2019),” Maury Brown of Forbes.com reported.
Brown also reported Red Sox viewership dropped 54%.
The Red Sox decided to slash payroll in 2020 to reset their luxury tax penalties. And so they traded superstar Mookie Betts and starting pitcher David Price to the Dodgers on Feb. 10. That trade slashed $43 million off their payroll and dropped them approximately $18 million below the Competitive Balance Tax base threshold.
Both ace Chris Sale (Tommy John surgery) and No. 2 starter Eduardo Rodriguez (myocarditis, resulting from COVID-19) missed the entire 2020 season.
Boston put an uncompetitive product on the field during the shortened 60-game season. The Red Sox finished in last place in the AL East, 16 games behind the first-place Tampa Bay Rays. Boston’s .400 winning percentage (24-36) was their 12th worst winning percentage in franchise history dating back to 1901.
Team president Sam Kennedy recently said COVID-19 had a “devastating impact” on Red Sox’s revenues in 2020.
In May, the Red Sox cut the salaries of all team employees earning $50,000 or more. Team president Sam Kennedy said June 24 that pay cuts will remain in effect through the end of the 2020 calendar year despite MLB restarting its season and playing a 60-game schedule.
“Will it (COVID-19) have an impact on our budget? Yes, of course it will because of the devastating impact it has had on our revenues this year,” Kennedy said last last Tuesday. “Obviously, next year is uncertain. That said, I don’t know what the outlook for 2021 is yet with respect to the virus. As that becomes clear, we’ll be able to act in real time and make decisions.”