KINGSPORT, Tenn. (WJHL) — U.S. Sen. Marsh Blackburn (R- Tenn.) pitched her support for minor league baseball and advocated for it in the diamond on Thursday night.
Blackburn, along with Virginia Sen. Mark Warner, introduced a bill to grant $550 million from the PPE loan programs to help Minor League Clubs that ran into some curveballs throughout the pandemic.
She made an appearance at the Kingsport Axmen game, an Appalachian League team that would benefit from the bill if it passes.
“One of the things that we know is that they are so pleased to have access to these funds,” Blackburn said. “Because not only is it the ballpark itself, but it is also the vendors and, of course, the community that loves to come to the games.”
The relief would allow clubs to return to full staffing levels and secure jobs associated with the games. The emergency grants would be distributed by the Small Business Administration (SBA).
Eligible clubs could receive up to $10 million along with an opportunity for a second grant that reaches 50% of the first if that club’s revenue doesn’t recover.
Before COVID-19 hit, Minor League Baseball Clubs employed more than 3,300 full-time employees and nearly 32,000 part-time and seasonal positions.