Major League Baseball is suing its insurance providers, claiming insurers are refusing to cover the billions of dollars in losses the sport has suffered due to the coronavirus pandemic, according to a lawsuit filed in October.
All 30 MLB teams, the baseball commissioner’s office, MLB’s digital and streaming services, MLB Network and Tickets.com have collectively sued their insurance providers, citing massive property damage and “time element” losses that the clubs and their affiliates have experienced due to the pandemic, according to the lawsuit filed in Alameda County, California, and obtained by CNN.
The suit, filed on October 16, states claims that MLB purchased “top-shelf All Risks Policies” to protect baseball “against the risk of catastrophic economic losses” that it now faces due to the pandemic.
“Baseball paid millions of dollars in premiums year after year because it deliberately bought broad, more protective coverage” but the insurers “have very publicly refused to live up to their contractual obligation to pay what they promised,” according to the lawsuit.
CNN has reached out to the insurance companies named in the suit for a response and has not yet heard back.
Citing fans as being at the core of baseball’s revenue, the suit claims that fans have flocked to baseball stadiums “through two world wars, and a host of other local, regional, national, and global crises” because “whenever America faced a crisis, baseball — and attending baseball games — was a common bond that united the country.”
In the face of nationwide restrictions due to the pandemic, clubs canceled more than 1,500 games, resulting in the shortest regular season on record.
“COVID-19 forced the Clubs to play the entirety of this shortened regular season without that core: fans in the stands,” according to the suit.
A limited number of fans were allowed to attend the National League Championship Series and the World Series at Globe Life Field in Arlington, Texas.
The suit says that teams lost the revenue they relied on from ticket sales, concessions, parking, and merchandise sales as well as more than $1 billion in losses from local and national media broadcast rights.
MLB started its 60-game season in July, four months after Opening Day was postponed. Normally, the 30 MLB teams each play 162 games from late March to early October, followed by a postseason.
“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. We strongly believe these losses are covered in full by our insurance policies, and are confident that the court and jury will agree,” MLB said in statement.
CNN’s Alaa Elassar and Wayne Sterling contributed to this report.