Well, that didn’t take long. Major League Baseball owners approved a proposal at 2pm ET on Monday afternoon to send to the Major League Baseball Players Association with the hopes that their plan could be approved and they could get something in place to begin the 2020 season. The initial proposal seems dead in the water. Ken Rosenthal and Evan Drellich of The Athletic are reporting that the MLB owner’s plan to go to a revenue share that would give a 50-50 split of league revenues for 2020 is a non-starter for the Players Association, which sees the system as a salary cap.
What the MLB owners are trying to do is make the players take on not only the health risks involved in playing in 2020, but also the financial risks by asking them to take a paycut even further than the one the two sides already agreed to five weeks ago.
Former professional baseball player and now attorney and co-founder of MiLB Advocates Garrett Broshius had this to say:
MLB doesn't give players more money when teams bring in more revenue than expected in a given year. They make the players honor the contracts they signed. So why should the players give back money when the owners bring in less than expected? https://t.co/qHx5Zpkhpc
— Garrett Broshuis (@broshuis) May 11, 2020
While there’s most certainly going to be less revenue as a whole in 2020, even if games are played as soon as July 1st – which is one target date MLB has proposed – there’s reason to believe that teams would still be able to break even or perhaps make a little bit of money overall (this could vary from team to team, of course) – Broshius makes an excellent point.
And one that isn’t made in his tweet is non-baseball money that teams like to claim isn’t baseball revenue that only exists because the team exists. 19 of the 30 teams own at least a partial stake in their regional sports network that was given to them by taking less cash per year in their television contracts. The cash is baseball revenue. The money they make each year for owning a sports network is not, at least according to them. Likewise, all of the additional real estate that teams have been able to develop outside of their stadiums simply because they owned a team and would leave the city and got the city/county to pay for most of or all of a stadium and development outside of it is “non-baseball revenue”, but of course, only exists because of the baseball team. That stuff won’t be any part of the “50-50” revenue split in 2020.
Let’s not forget about the sale of BAMTech, either. The BAM in BAMTech stems from MLBAM which stands for Major League Baseball Advanced Media. After serving just the MLB dot com and MLB.tv services, the program expanded to other technologies. Disney paid the owners $1,580,000,000 to acquire 42% of BAMTech in 2017. They already had purchased 33% earlier for $1,000,000,000. That was not “baseball revenue”, either, according to the owners even though the company was started with seed money from all 30 owners to operate MLB.com and MLB.tv.
And then of course, there’s this from Andy Martino of SNY:
A high-ranking team exec says his payroll will be cut signficantly next year. Free agency will be impacted. Owners will pass $ losses to players one way or another. https://t.co/uBFfXBLroD
— Andy Martino (@martinonyc) May 11, 2020
The players shouldn’t budge on the already agreed upon deal. The owners are going to use this whole situation to cry poor in free agency either way. If they cave now, they get less now and less in the future.