It seems that fans will get their answer soon on whether or not baseball will be played in 2020. MLB Owners approved their proposal to the players and negotiations have been happening. While there is a lot to consider, as of right now, the sides are not close.
- The Proposal
- The Players Wants
- Where They’re Apart
- New Possible Revenue Solutions
MLB Owners gave their plan for a 2020 season and here’s the highlights.
- No fans in the stands
- 82-game season
- 14-team playoffs
- Division and Geographic Interleague Games Only
- Universal DH
- The Ability to Use Spring Training Facilities
- 30-Man Roster
- 20-Man Practice Squad
- 50-50 Revenue Split between Players and Owners
Everyone agrees that no fans is the only way this season happens. The 82 game season is roughly half the season making pro-rated salaries easy, and the regular season at least close to meaningful. And to make sure every good team gets a chance playoffs are being expanded to almost half of each league. 14 teams will make it. The two top seeds of each league will get a bye. While the specifics of how many games at each level will be played are not known, the bracket should look something like this.
This is similar to what was proposed pre-covid so it would not be surprising to see them use the same format that was proposed then. This would mean that the top seeds will get to choose their competition for the first round.
The Divisional and Interleague play is to limit travel for players. Using Spring Training facilities also keep teams close to the teams they’ll be playing, while also giving teams (like those in California, New York, or the Blue Jays) a place to play safely if they’re not allowed in their home park.
The Universal DH is necessary for interleague play to run smoothly. 30-man rosters allow for players to stay rested even with less days off the schedule. The 20-man practice squad allows top minor league talent to continue to develop with MLB talent.
However, the 50-50 revenue split is considered a non-starter for players who argue a pro-rated salary is enough of a cut considering they’re the ones putting their safety at risk.
What The Players Are Asking For
The Players want to play. But they also need to do what’s best for them. Sean Doolittle, who’s part of the MLBPAA, explained what he was looking for in this twitter thread.
He brings up amazing defenses on behalf of MLB players. Mostly, about their health and the commitment from their side.
The debate is causing incredible controversy for both sides. Fans are outraged at the idea of money being the idea of baseball missing a season.
But in the players defense, they only have so many years of playing and on their current contracts. These owners typically will hold on to their ownership of the team, much longer than players have on their career.
And just like any other investment, it is not a guarantee of ROI. Players have already agreed to a pro-rated contract which is the most they should have to give up considering, again, they are the ones putting themselves in danger. If the owners are worried about revenue, perhaps they should be considering new sources of revenue instead of taking away from the players who make them fortunes.
Possible Alternate Revenue Sources
- VR Tickets
Teams could sell a VR experience in place of tickets while possibly launching themselves into the future. 3D Cameras could be placed all around the stadium allowing a truly immersive watching experience. You could sit behind home and switch to the left field pavilions to watch a home run land if you so choose.
- Virtual Raffles
Teams often do raffles for charity, much like the Dodger’s 50/50 ticket sales in game, but perhaps fans would happily gamble on memorabilia sports raffles to support their team. For states where it’s legal, it’d be interesting to have organizations be bookies for their own games. As in, while watching the Dodger game, all viewers can bet on the game through an organizations own app and book.
- Stock Options
Some professional sports teams offer stocks to be part owners of a team. Teams like the Atlanta Braves with BATRA and the Green Bay Packers in the NFL. They used these non-traditional stocks to raise capital.
- Expanding Media Content
As sports betting and and fantasy expand, teams would be smart to start running programs with these topics at the center. This could be a while new source of ad revenue from a growing industry. For example, it’s interesting with all the sports podcasts out there, I have never seen one ran by a specific organization.