‘The impact would be significant’: Goldeyes president prepares for a summer with no major sports

By | April 30, 2020

WINNIPEG — The Province of Manitoba released its reopening plan Wednesday, which indicated Manitobans won’t be seeing live sporting events this summer.

Major sporting events won’t be considered until at least September, which could take a toll on sports teams in the city.

Thursday afternoon, Mickey Steen sat outside Shaw Park, the home of the Winnipeg Goldeyes – likely the closest he’ll get to a a game this Spring.

“[I’m] enjoying the sunshine and enjoying the atmosphere of being close to the ball park,” said Steen, a Goldeyes season ticket holder since 1994.

Steen said he’d be sad to not see the team play this year.

“I would just have to go with the flow, like I say, I’d be very disappointed, but it’s something we have to do and I understand what they’re getting at.”

The reopening plan has left Goldeyes President & CEO Sam Katz with questions.

“What is a major sporting event?” said Katz. “If you can accomplish social distancing and take a venue that’s approximately 8,000, turn it into 2,500 are you able to play? And that answer obviously we don’t have right now.”

Katz said the league has outlined a plan for a shortened season, but health orders will determine whether the team can play, adding safety is the first priority. He said, for the Goldeyes, without fans in the ball park there will be no season.

“(It’s) not an option, minor league baseball does not work that way, there are no major revenue sources coming from television etcetera, we definitely would play with fans and only fans.”

Katz said the financial impact of not playing this season could have an impact on the team’s future.

“The impact would be significant, no question about that. This is going to be a challenge, but I will do everything humanly possible to make sure baseball is here for another 25 to 50 years,” Katz said.

The alternative result is one Steen says he wouldn’t be happy with.

“That would be a disaster,” he said.

BOMBERS AND VALOUR FC IN HOLDING PATTERN

Other sports teams in the city have yet to determine their plan for the season.

In an email to CTV News a spokesperson with the Winnipeg Blue Bombers said:

“We are currently in a holding pattern as we work with the CFL on how the 2020 schedule will look. Once we get more clarity on that, we will be happy to discuss it.”

As for the financial impact, the team previously announced it had had to cut jobs and reduce salaries due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

READ MORE: Winnipeg Blue Bombers forced to reduce salaries, cut jobs amid COVID-19 pandemic

Thursday, the team said it had no other details to share yet about financial impacts.

“We don’t want to speculate on anything as things change quickly. As we get through this process we will be able to have those discussions and have a clearer picture of how that will look,” a spokesperson for the team told CTV news in an email.

Meanwhile, Valour FC said plans have yet to be determined about its season.

“The team is working with the CPL and is hopeful to have games at IG Field when health officials say it’s safe to do so.

Right now it’s too early to speak on the financial side and impacts that may have,” a spokesperson told CTV News in an email. 

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