Loggers survive difficult financial year caused by COVID-19

LA CROSSE, Wis. (WKBT)–Plenty of planning goes into opening up your stadium for a baseball season.

When COVID-19 throws those plans out the window, it puts teams like the loggers in a tough financial situation.

Behind these gates is usually baseball.

“Events and COVID just don’t mix.”

General Manager Ben Kapanke had a tough choice this spring, whether or not to open these gates.

“There’s doubt in your head leading up to it, ‘was this the right decision?’

Opened or closed, the pandemic limited revenues and staff.

“When the thing hit we had to layoff a majority of our front office which is very unfortunate,” said the General Manager.

Because even if they were to open, they couldn’t fill the stadium.

“We’re not operating at 3,000 people per game we’re operating at 800,” he explained.

But revenue wasn’t the only factor on deciding to reopen.

“We started getting calls of people trying to find somewhere to play, and that’s what helped us make our decision,” said Kapanke.

“There was an abundance of talent all over the league so our league was wise enough to open the roster and allow more players to come,” added President Chris Goodell.

So the season lived on, but not easily. The team is reeling from a loss of some sponsors and the cancellation of events.

“It’s been challenging from a sponsor point, this has affected every business.”

Even with their losses, the team is staying positive. 800 fans per game is usually low but not this year.

“It’s all about perspective, that’s the most in the league,” added Goodell.

And what you may see as a rough financial year, they see as a lesson.

“If we can get through this year, we can get through pretty much almost anything,” explained Goodell.

And it’s going to take pretty much almost anything to keep these gates closed in 2021.

“We’ll get through this, and 2021 will be a big year for us,” said Kapanke.