Report: MLB Likely To Halt Revenue Sharing Among Clubs In '20
MLB if it begins the season is "likely to halt revenue sharing among the clubs," and while the decision is not final, it is the "expectation of owners and other top executives in the sport," according to Rosenthal & Drellich of THE ATHLETIC. Normally, teams share 48% of "net local revenue." All MLB teams "will hurt this year, but from one perspective, certain big-market teams might hurt the most." Those clubs "typically generate huge numbers in attendance, and subsequently, huge dollars in gate-related income." That money might "barely exist in 2020, as teams at least open the season with no paying customers." The big-market payrolls, however, will "remain large, and ultimately, baseball's richest will not have the cash flow to share the way they have in the past." One exec said, "It's not happening, because there are no revenues. That's why everyone's losses are the same. You look at the Marlins, they get $70 million in revenue sharing. That's gone" (THEATHLETIC.com, 5/15).
MANFRED SPEAKS: MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred on Thursday said losses "could approach" $4B this year for the owners if no season is played. Appearing on CNN, Manfred said, "Playing in empty stadiums is not a great deal for us economically, but our owners are committed to doing that because they feel it is important that the game be back on the field." Manfred was asked about the optics of the reported labor dispute between the league the MLBPA, and the commissioner downplayed the idea that the parties are in a "fight" about economics. He said, "Whenever there's a discussion about economics publicly, people tend to characterize it as a fight. I have great confidence that we’ll reach an agreement with the players association, both that it's safe to come back to work and work out the economic issues that need to be resolved." Manfred also said he is "hopeful" that MLB will "return to our business as we’ve traditionally known it" after the pandemic passes. Still, the league has "thought about changes," specifically toward "rules of the game" it will use in '20 (“CNN Global Town Hall,” CNN, 5/15).
INSIDE THE FINANCIALS: The AP's Ronald Blum cites a source as saying that lawyers for the MLBPA asked the league to "submit a slew of financial documents that detail the industry’s finances" as the sides negotiate a return to play. MLB owners on Monday "gave the go-ahead to propose basing players’ salaries on a 50-50 revenue split, which the union says is a salary cap and a framework players will never agree to." The type of financial disclosure the union asked for is "more common during overall collective bargaining talks, which play out for many months or years, rather than the limited negotiation time available now." Reds P Trevor Bauer said via Twitter, "There's so many ways to hide the money" (AP, 5/15).
IN GOOD FAITH? USA TODAY's Bob Nightengale notes the league "maintained Thursday it is not reneging on its original agreement, and is only exercising its rights to negotiate a new economic deal with the union if a season is played without fans." An MLB attorney involved in the negotiations said, "The whole agreement is premised on that the season was only going to resume in front of fans. The way it was structured, the season was not starting unless we can play with fans at either home ballparks or neutral sites. That was understood. We knew going in that it was not economically feasible to play without fans with the way the deal was structured" (USA TODAY, 5/15).
DIGNITARIES OPTIMISTIC ABOUT DEAL: Yankees Senior VP & GM Brian Cashman on Thursday said he is "optimistic" there will be a season in some form. Cashman: "We have to give everybody involved in that process the time to discuss it and work through it. Try to find comfort levels if they exist. ... The first steps are trying to educate each other with what is the ability to keep our employees safe, all parties that are involved" (NEWSDAY, 5/15). Rays manager Kevin Cash said, "When MLB and the owners come together with the players to come to an agreement on different situations and circumstances, sometimes that can take some time. They want to do what’s right and fair for all parties." He added, "Certainly with the public knowledge of the proposal that is currently being sent over to the association, I think that’s stirred a lot of thought and conversation. ... The players I've spoken with, they consistently show kind of a champing at the bit mentality of ready to go" (TAMPA BAY TIMES, 5/15).