'Good position to continue:' Houston Astros organization confirms Fayetteville Woodpeckers will survive COVID-19 impacts

Michael Lozano Image
Wednesday, May 20, 2020
Houston Astros organization confirms Fayetteville Woodpeckers will survive pandemic
Houston Astros organization confirms Fayetteville Woodpeckers will survive pandemic

FAYETTEVILLE, N.C. (WTVD) -- The fate of sports is still up in the air and that includes the nearly 160 teams in Minor League Baseball.

The Fayetteville Woodpeckers started off its first year in Segra Stadium becoming a top 10 percent earner within the entire league; however, like everyone else, they're losing out on millions of dollars.


Dan O'Neill, the Senior Director of Business Operations for the Houston Astros, said "losing out on selling tickets, selling merchandise, selling food and beverages" is extremely difficult to deal with.

O'Neill oversees the Houston Astros' affiliate teams, including the Woodpeckers. He said, because of the Astros ownership, they've been able to maintain all of their staff at every level for the rest of the month.

A task that's been difficult for other minor league teams, like the Durham Bulls, to do.

Back in April, the Bulls furloughed roughly 55 percent of its front office.

"We have a little bit more financial wherewithal compared to some minor league clubs, and that's been evident, kind of how we've maintained our staffing so far," O'Neill said.

The Woodpeckers have missed out on 20 of its 70 home games, nearly closing out on 50 percent of its seasonal revenue that it will never see.

Teams losing their largest form of income has brought concern that some organizations may shutter their doors for good.

O'Neill said despite the financial impact, the Woodpeckers and their other affiliates are here to stay.

"We're going to have Woodpecker baseball, as soon as it's allowed by the governor and Minor League Baseball," O'Neill said.

The team's been able to bring in some revenue with online merchandise and curbside pick-up at the stadium on Tuesdays.

O'Neill told ABC11 it's a waiting game. If the season were to start up, he adds the TV revenue made by the Astros would provide some much needed support to their affiliates.

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