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Pickles plan season slate sans fans

Portland PicklesWith Oregon Gov. Kate Brown shutting down all large gatherings of crowds through September, including sporting events, the Portland Pickles (summer collegiate; West Coast League) announced plans to play games this season without fans at the ballpark.

The order from Brown came down today.

Here’s the statement from the team in announcing the 2020 season game plan:

We have created an extensive, detailed plan for a safe, fan-free environment for our local collegiate level baseball players to both compete and entertain. We will create an amazing, free broadcast of all our games for the sports fans of Oregon and beyond. Our goal is to bring pride to the community to rally around baseball, but safely from home.

Our goal is to begin play at Walker Stadium on July 2nd and continue though August 9th. We are working with Portland Parks & Recreation, our Mayor, and our Governor to bring this to life. 

For our valued season ticket holders, package holders, all group ticket buyers, all tickets will be pushed to the 2021 season. Due to the influx of messages, please email if there are any questions regarding tickets or groups. We look forward to announcing, in the coming weeks, our revised schedule and opponents, along with a variety of special promotions. 

It’s. pretty bold move to launch a season without fans: yes, there will be some merchandise sales, but summer-collegiate teams make the vast majority of their revenues from gate admissions and concessions.

The Perfect Game Collegiate Baseball League, New York Collegiate Baseball LeagueNew England Collegiate Baseball League, Cape Cod League and the Valley Baseball League have all canceled the 2020 season. The Expedition LeagueWestern Canadian Baseball LeagueProspect LeagueCoastal Plain LeagueNorthwoods League, Futures Collegiate Baseball League and the Texas Collegiate League have announced delays to the 2020 summer-collegiate season.

Individual teams are also facing issues: the Duluth Huskies (Northwoods League) and the Lafayette Aviators (Prospect League) can’t play home games before July 1, while the Bellingham Bells will not participate in the 2020 West Coast League season. All in all, summer-collegiate leagues across the board are grappling with the potential of shortened seasons, extended seasons into the fall and teams facing serious revenue shortfalls.

With daily news about the spread of the coronavirus impacting the sports-business and facilities industries, it’s more important than ever to stay up with the latest news in the venues industry. That’s why we launched a Venues Digest newsletter focusing on coronavirus information across the ballparks, arenas, stadiums, theater and performing-arts worlds. For now it will appear daily, and for now it will be free of charge to industry professionals. Sign up here.

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