Opening Day is supposed to bring lots of joy (and money) to Major League Baseball, as fans come to the ballpark to embrace their favorite teams. Usually by spending money on the ticket and food, but there's also new merch and gear, often with updated logos and designs.
One of the key pieces to the entire professional baseball operation is Buffalo-based New Era ($PRIVATE:NEWERA), the distributor of MLB ballcaps everywhere. Unfortunately, with no sports going on at the moment, very few stores open for business, and even a delay in online orders, there's little room for novelty hat purchases.
So as a result, a number of employees were furloughed by New Era. And by a number, we mean 70% of its entire workforce.
The furlough will hit hundreds of staff members and will last for 60 days. Before this announcement, there was already a slow trickle of new hires, but you can get a sense that the margins are going to be thin for a while if there's no baseball to drive more hat sales.
The other problem is somewhat tied to the lingering conversation about baseball's popularity here in the states. Which is a real shame, considering it was known as "America's pastime" for like a whole century, but we digress.
Both the Twitter and Facebook followings have been completely flat or going down for years now, and it's only a matter of time before New Era has to really start reaching out to get new fans interested in buying its hats or make old fans to care enough to give them a like online.
About the Data:
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