Jerry Reinsdorf isn’t shy about sharing his expected financial losses from the ongoing pandemic. In a story published by USA Today, the Chicago Bulls and White Sox owner said the losses are somewhere in the “nine figures,” though he hasn’t calculated an exact number.
Here’s the quote:
“The two teams and the stadium all have expenses,’’ Reinsdorf told USA Today’s Bob Nightengale. “None have income. That’s a bad business model. The Bulls got to play 75% of the season, so the losses aren’t bad. We had a lousy season [22-43], so we weren’t going to be in the playoffs, anyway. But the baseball losses are tremendous.’’
To start, we can probably be at least a little skeptical of these numbers, pandemic or not. Losing at least $100 million between two teams is certainly possible, but I’m sure owners would err on the side of exaggeration when discussing publicly the impact of this pandemic. With that said, Reinsdorf is certainly losing a large chunk of change right now. And there’s just no doubt about that.
Of course, thanks to the Bulls season – “lousy” or not – the bulk of the losses are likely coming from the MLB/White Sox side of the equation, but that doesn’t mean the Bulls finances won’t be greatly impacted, given the shared owner and more moderate losses (it’s all relative) of their own.
And, indeed, given the way Reinsdorf operates, it’s not unrealistic to think a terrible year for the Sox would limit the Bulls near-term financial flexibility. Remember, eating money has recently become a topic of conversation within the Bulls universe. Jim Boylen is still under contract with the franchise, as are several of the team’s assistant coaches. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again, I don’t think the amount of money owed to these individuals is enough to justify NOT overhauling the coaching staff, but this information doesn’t make it hard to envision Reinsdorf using it as the excuse.
No matter how you look at it, the Bulls are losing money, and the more money they lose, the less flexible they’re going to be, especially in the near-term. Fortunately, the Bulls don’t have much cap flexibility this offseason anyway, and they’re not in a position along their competitive cycle, during which they’re expected to spend lavishly. But still … while this may not wind up deeply impacting the roster itself, it’s fair to question how it might impact the front office rebuild.
Remember, we were told that Arturas Karnisovas would have full autonomy to hire whomever he wanted, when he wanted to hire them, and yet there’s been some high profile delays. As money fails to come in at the rate Reinsdorf and the Bulls likely projected, perhaps we could see that change. Let’s hope not.
Read the full interview with Reinsdorf below:
— Bob Nightengale (@BNightengale) July 15, 2020