WASHINGTON (WFXR) – U.S. Senator Mark R. Warner and Tim Kaine (both D-VAs) stepped in on Thursday by introducing the Minor League Baseball Relief Act to help the nine teams of Virginia Minor League Baseball (MiLB) in financially struggling after the pandemic threw a curve ball into their 2020 season.
“For many working families, attending a weekend Minor League baseball game in Commonwealth stadiums is an affordable and fun family outing,” Warner said in a statement shared by his office on Thursday, June 24. . âBaseball is not only America’s hobby, it is also an economic lifeline for many communities. However, like many small businesses throughout the COVID-19 crisis, our Minor league baseball teams in Virginia and across the country have struggled mightily to keep the lights on. Since there has not been a minor league baseball season in 2020 due to the pandemic, many of these teams suffered heavy financial losses that were not significantly alleviated by existing small business economic assistance programs.I am happy to work with my colleagues on this bill that would allow these local treasures to access. economic aid.
Officials say the Minor League Baseball Relief Act provides up to $ 550 million in federal relief funds for MiLB teams, which are an important economic engine for communities as baseball fans attend games and end up frequenting them. restaurants, hotels and other local attractions.
Warner and Kaine introduced the bill alongside Sens. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) and Richard Blumenthal (D-CT). In addition, representatives of “heavy hitters” Doris Matsui (D-CA) and David McKinley (R-WV) introduced complementary legislation to the House of Representatives.
âBaseball isn’t just America’s favorite pastime, bringing together friends and family; it is also a critical economic engine for the Commonwealth, âsaid Kaine. âTeams in communities across Virginia support our local economy and create jobs. The pandemic has taken its toll on this beloved sport, and I am proud to present this bipartisan legislation to help MiLB teams navigate this economic crisis. “
According to the statement shared by Warner’s office, “the bases are loaded in Virginia,” with the following nine Commonwealth minor league baseball teams eligible for financial aid under the Minor League Aid Act:
- Bluefield Ridge Runners (formerly Blue Jays)
- Bristol State Lines (formerly Pirates)
- Danville Otterbots (formerly Braves)
- Fredericksburg Nationals (formerly Potomac)
- Lynchburg cats
- Tides for norfolk
- Pulaski River Turtles (formerly Yankees)
- Richmond Flying Squirrels
- Salem Red Sox
Officials say the Minor League Baseball Relief Act would be modeled after the successful Shuttered Venue Operator Grants (SVOG) program, which provided much needed help to places like theaters, museums or concert halls that were forced into to shut down due to necessary COVID-19 security measures.
Specifically, Thursday’s statement states that the Minor League Baseball Relief Act:
- Reallocate up to $ 550 million in COVID-19 relief funds for an emergency grants program administered by the Small Business Administration (SBA) that would otherwise be returned to the US Treasury.
- Provide eligible clubs with grants up to a maximum of $ 10 million, with salary costs, regular business expenses (e.g. rent, utilities), worker protection expenses, and payments made to contractors self-employed persons included among the authorized expenses.
- Offer the possibility of a second grant at 50% of the first if a club’s income does not recover and does not significantly exceed its 2019 total.
- Require strict SBA oversight through documentation, review of use and audit on grant funding, and applies to any minor league baseball team that was previously part of the National League Association professional baseball, but not to any Major League-owned club. Baseball.
You can read a copy of the bill here.