The NFL, NBA, MLB, NHL and NCAA, unsurprisingly, took a massive hit due to the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020. When the entire country came to a halt about one year ago, Forbes estimated that the four major American sports leagues and the NCAA would lose a combined $5 billion in revenue.
According to Forbes' most recent report, the revenue losses for the NCAA and the four major U.S. sports leagues have now hit at least $14.1 billion:
"Even with the return of the NHL and NBA in their respective 'bubbles,' MLB's shortened season and months of mostly fan-free NFL Sundays, the revenue losses for the NCAA and the four major U.S. sports leagues have now hit at least $14.1 billion so far, according to Forbes estimates. Even the value of sports teams, one of the most reliable long-term investments for billionaires, began to creak from the strain. NHL franchise values fell 2% on average, according to a Forbes analysis published in December, the first drop in two decades. NBA values rose just 4% on average, the smallest increase since 2010."
Here is how much the four major American sports leagues and the NCAA earned in 2020 compared to 2019, per Forbes:
This isn't necessarily surprising considering all of the revenue streams the major sports lost when they did resume their seasons. Many teams didn't allow fans to attend games in 2020, and even if they did, it was limited capacity.
The Forbes report does provide hope for recovery in 2021 as the economy begins to open up with the COVID-19 vaccine being rolled out nationwide. The NFL hosted a live crowd at Super Bowl LV, and fans are being allowed back into NBA, NHL and MLB stadiums.
Even with the vaccine rolling out, the CDC is telling people to remain cautious, wear a mask and practice social distancing. We aren't out of the pandemic yet, but maybe we will be soon if everyone does their part.