At the end of last week, U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., joined U.S. Sen. Mitt Romney, R-Utah, and Jim Risch, R-Idaho, is sending a letter to U.S. Small Business Administrator Jovita Carranza urging for the inclusion of minor league sports venues in the new Small Business Administration (SBA) grant facility for shuttered venues.
The full text of the letter is below.
Dear Administrator Carranza:
We write to express support for the inclusion of minor league sports venues in the grant facility for shuttered venues administered by the Small Business Administration (SBA). As you know, the Economic Aid to Hard-Hit Small Businesses, Nonprofits, and Venues Act, which was enacted as part of the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021, created a new $15 billion grant facility to provide financial assistance to eligible live venues and performing arts organization operators, among other eligible entities that have been forced to close as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Minor league sports are an essential part of the American culture and economy that provide valuable live entertainment to local communities that are affordable to American families. Moreover, they employ thousands of Americans and support many partnered small businesses, as well as raise funds for local charities. However, minor league sports have been among the hardest-hit sectors by the COVID-19 pandemic. For example, as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, the 2020 Minor League Baseball (MiLB) season was canceled, which resulted in an estimated 85 percent drop in revenues for minor league baseball teams. This stems from the loss of income from tickets, concessions, parking, and ballpark advertising.
Minor league sports venues clearly meet the eligibility criteria for a shuttered venue as defined by the law. They earn nearly all of their revenue from tickets sales for events and concessions sold at those events. They maintain performance and audience spaces, technical crew, and equipment and many employ fewer than 500 full-time employees. Unlike some other venues and museums, independently owned minor league sports venues are unlikely to be well-capitalized, and participate in leagues that are not for profit. For these reasons, we urge that these venues be given fair consideration in the disbursal of grants under this new facility.
We appreciate the tireless work that you and the Small Business Administration conduct on behalf of small businesses in the United States. Thank you for your attention to this important matter.