Major League Baseball team owners took a necessary first step last week by collectively agreeing on a proposal for the 2020 regular season. Now they must finalize a plan with the union to ensure play resumes this summer.
Owners are calling for an estimated 82-game schedule based on geographical location, with the potential implementation of a universal designated hitter and expanded playoffs format.
Most clubs will also be allowed to play at their home ballparks, albeit without fans in the stands. This prospect has concerned the league due to the potentially significant financial losses it will face as a result of the lack of ticket sales.
Owners and the Players Association are now at odds over economics, with the former proposing the latter accept a 50-50 revenue split this year. The union has maintained it will not agree to anything short of the prorated salaries guaranteed to players in March.
Thus, the urgency to compromise on a plan for the 2020 season is becoming more vital by the day. In the event no games take place this year, MLB commissioner Rob Manfred revealed during CNN’s “Global Town Hall” that team owners could lose upwards of $4 billion in revenue:
“The economic effects are devastating, frankly, for the clubs. We’re a big business but we’re a seasonal business. Unfortunately, this crisis began at kind of the low point for us in terms of revenue since we hadn’t quite started our season yet. If we don’t play a season, losses for the owners could approach $4 billion.”
As significant as that figure is, team owners believe they will lose even more money by paying players prorated salaries without fan attendance.
The Los Angeles Dodgers, who routinely lead the league in attendance every season, are projected to lose $232 million if players receive prorated salaries without fans this year.
That figure is the second-highest in all of baseball, behind only the New York Yankees, who stand to lose $312 million under this scenario.
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