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Monday, May 11, 2020

MLB owners approve historic revenue-sharing plan amid coronavirus pandemic

Major League Baseball owners approved a proposal Monday requiring teams to share 50% of their revenue with the Major League Baseball Players Association should plans to play this year proceed, three people with direct knowledge of the proposal told USA TODAY Sports.

The people, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because they were unauthorized to discuss details, said the historic revenue-sharing plan is integral in order to to address revenue losses with an 82-game season being played without fans beginning in July. MLB officials say that teams are expected to lose about 40% of their gross revenue from ticket sales, concessions and parking.

The proposal is expected to be rejected by the players, who are fearful owners would then push to implement a salary cap during negotiations on a new collective bargaining agreement to replace the one that expires Dec. 1, 2021. The players’ compensation has never been tied to club revenues.

This sounds like a reasonable offer, so of course it will be rejected.

 

Barry`s_Lazy_Boy Posted: May 11, 2020 at 10:27 PM | 172 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: coronavirus, revenue sharing

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   1. Walt Davis Posted: May 11, 2020 at 11:42 PM (#5949628)
Depends on which "revenue" is included. Given MLB players (not incl minors) currently receive only something like 42% of revenue, they'd jump at 50%. So if they ain't jumping, something's missing. A very big chunk of revenue these days does not come from "gross revenue from ticket sales, concessions and parking" so I'm curious why that's singled out in this writeup. You've also got questions about how stadium costs, etc. are or are not factored into this.

Also if the owners are offering 50% of this year's revenues, why have they offered that rather than pro-rated salary? They don't seem like the sort of folks who'd gladly give away extra money.
   2. Mayor Blomberg Posted: May 12, 2020 at 03:05 AM (#5949644)
The owners’ proposal also outlines details on scheduling, with the likely postponement of the All-Star Game, which was scheduled July 14 at Dodger Stadium, two of the people told USA TODAY Sports.

Postponement, not cancellation? Why TF play an all-star game in the midst of all these logistical nightmares?


50 percent of revenue for how long and in return for what is, for course, the question. This down year only? This year and next, also dicey, year, then it goes away with the CBA? Sharing in return for a cap?
   3. Stevey Posted: May 12, 2020 at 07:52 AM (#5949656)
This sounds like a reasonable offer, so of course it will be rejected.


It will be rejected because a reasonable offer was already agreed to. That reasonable offer that the owners are now rejecting.

It is both incredibly funny and incredibly sad how much water people will carry for billionaires.

Also if the owners are offering 50% of this year's revenues, why have they offered that rather than pro-rated salary?


The owners initial offer before the season was pro-rated salary, but now they're finding they wont make as much money as they hoped without selling tickets, so they want players to take the haircut instead of them.
   4. Barry`s_Lazy_Boy Posted: May 12, 2020 at 08:16 AM (#5949658)
Also if the owners are offering 50% of this year's revenues, why have they offered that rather than pro-rated salary?


Salaries were based on total revenues. If MLB total revenues are 60% of normal, paying pro-rated salaries would be a much higher percentage of revenue.
   5. Jose Needs an Absurd Ukulele Concert Posted: May 12, 2020 at 09:16 AM (#5949670)
Postponement, not cancellation? Why TF play an all-star game in the midst of all these logistical nightmares?


I suspect "postponement" is simply a placeholder. I doubt we will see an All Star Game this year but the leagues (like so many other businesses) are just kicking the can down the road. There is no reason to just cancel it now. And of course financially the Dodgers and MLB benefit from still holding that ticket money. I'm sure the Dodgers/MLB are perfectly happy to earn the interest on another month of the tickets that have already been purchased.

50 percent of revenue for how long and in return for what is, for course, the question. This down year only? This year and next, also dicey, year, then it goes away with the CBA? Sharing in return for a cap?


Yup. Once something is in place it is hard to go back. It's why I think the float of the "one year only DH" yesterday was interesting. I suspect that if you see a universal DH this year the days of pitchers hitting is over.
   6. Jose Needs an Absurd Ukulele Concert Posted: May 12, 2020 at 09:18 AM (#5949672)
MLB officials say that teams are expected to lose about 40% of their gross revenue from ticket sales, concessions and parking.


Does anyone with better knowledge than me (i.e. everyone) on this subject have a sense of how accurate that 40% figure is? This is basically saying 60% of MLB revenue is TV money. Is that accurate?
   7. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: May 12, 2020 at 09:44 AM (#5949678)
I believe Forbes backs that number up with their estimates, but of course, they're just estimates.
   8. DL from MN Posted: May 12, 2020 at 09:47 AM (#5949679)
This is basically saying 60% of MLB revenue is TV money


Cable and streaming - sounds about right. Add in licensing and advertising revenue but they're smaller slices.
   9. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: May 12, 2020 at 09:48 AM (#5949680)
This sounds like a reasonable offer, so of course it will be rejected.


It seems reasonable which is why the owners put it out there ahead of the players, to seem like they are the ones who want to get back to baseball and if the players reject it, they're the ones that are going to kill the game. We've seen around the country ownership asking for employees to take the burden of paycuts, then turn around and give themselves the benefits. Also keep in mind - and the union has already been bad about this messaging - the players have already agreed to make half of what they usually make. I also understand the player perspective that owners never ask for a 50/50 split when they make an extraordinary amount of money.

I wonder if the solution is deferred salaries, so players get their money, just not this year. Give 'em the Bobby Bonilla treatment.
   10. Rally Posted: May 12, 2020 at 09:58 AM (#5949684)
60% TV money (counting streaming, basically everything other than ticket or merch sales) seems reasonable to me. I would have guessed even higher.

My first thoughts on why players would reject this (have not RTFA yet):

1. Are the owners offering this only for the 2020 season, and then if things are normal next year, go back to the system where players were getting much less than 50%?

I'd think players would jump at this, if it was an ongoing offer.

2. But is there trust? Are the players expecting the owners to play games here? You asked for 50%, and you'll get it. I receive $10 per year for the broadcast rights to our games. (sold to a cable company that I also own) So here's your $5, split it up amongst yourselves. Pleasure doing business with you.
   11. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: May 12, 2020 at 10:12 AM (#5949687)
Its a one-year offer.

Revenues can be hard to peg. Some teams have an equity stake in their RSN, so the revenue they get is below market value in exchange for the equity stake. Teams could also hide revenue in the RSN. There are teams getting into real estate developments around the stadiums, does that count? Does BAMTech revenue count?
   12. McCoy Posted: May 12, 2020 at 10:18 AM (#5949689)
Give them all media money. Seems fair to me.

Of course we also have to know what media plans on giving to MLB. I can't imagine they plan on paying full price.
   13. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: May 12, 2020 at 10:24 AM (#5949692)
Sinclair said that they had some clawbacks with the Fox RSNs, but we don't know how much. MLB will have to renegotiate their deal with FOX possibly, but with added playoff games, they may actually get more revenue?
   14. The Duke Posted: May 12, 2020 at 10:25 AM (#5949693)
It’s difficult to tell whether this is fair as we don’t have details but it would seem conceptually like a decent plan. I doubt anyone was seriously considering resuming and then playing the rest of the season without fans (ie a big source of revenue). The players are starting to make noises that this is what was contemplated but I don’t believe it.

As a matter of tactics, the players sacrificed leverage by agreeing to preserve service time in the first go-round. The owners can simply choose not to play and the players are stuck with their $170 million and a year of service time. The consequence of that is a massive loss of income and, in my mind more importantly, a likely suppression of salaries in 2021 and into the future. If the purpose of gaining service time was to ensure consistent future income, then walking away in 2020 seems to undermine the right that they won. Aside from that, saying the seemingly fair proposal is dead on arrival is likely not a sustainable PR tactic.

What the players should do is argue for higher percentage and perhaps see if they can win some other concession for the next collective bargaining agreement (expanded rosters, for instance). Maybe they could get the MLB to agree to a 26 man roster plus 4 man taxi squad where the taxi squad would be subject to pay and service time rules. That would be a big win going forward (4 new major leaguers by team).



   15. Rally Posted: May 12, 2020 at 10:31 AM (#5949696)
but with added playoff games, they may actually get more revenue?


At some point there would have to be diminishing returns. I understand a playoff game brings in more viewers than a regular season game. But starting a 'best of 162' playoff round in late March would not matter to anybody. The more you expand the playoffs, the less excitement you can generate for each additional round. Will they get big ratings for a wild card qualification round between a .500 team and a .480 team? Or will people just tune out until the Yankees come off their by round?
   16. Rally Posted: May 12, 2020 at 10:52 AM (#5949702)
If there is no minor league baseball, teams will probably have to carry the 40 man roster on a taxi squad.

I wonder if this will affect any top prospects, like Adley Rutschman for the Orioles. (I am sure I misspelled but I'm not going to click away and check, and I'm sure his real name is not Bradley Scotchman, as auto-correct suggests) I'm sure they have no intention of playing him in the big leagues in 2020, keep his service clock from starting. But maybe a full year of not playing competitive games will be a risk they don't want to take? So put him on a taxi squad and maybe even let him play if he proves he's the best catcher the team has.

Or maybe not. Would be nice to get to the point where we can find out.
   17. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: May 12, 2020 at 10:57 AM (#5949704)
I doubt anyone was seriously considering resuming and then playing the rest of the season without fans (ie a big source of revenue). The players are starting to make noises that this is what was contemplated but I don’t believe it.
Well, other than the fact that it was specifically mentioned in the parties' previous agreement.
   18. The Duke Posted: May 12, 2020 at 11:04 AM (#5949707)
From Passan on March 28:

MLB will have a season in 2020 only if the following things happen, per Jeff Passan of ESPN:

1.There are no longer any bans on mass gatherings in place that would prevent games from being played in front of fans at the ballpark.

2. There are no relevant travel restrictions in the U.S. or Canada.

3. Medical experts determine playing games would not present health risks for players, fans, or other team personnel.

His words, not mine
   19. Ziggy is done with Dominican discotheques Posted: May 12, 2020 at 11:05 AM (#5949709)
What the players should do is argue for higher percentage


What the players don't want is any connection between revenues and payroll. The reason that the offer is dead on arrival is that it's the first step towards a salary cap.
   20. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: May 12, 2020 at 11:10 AM (#5949711)
"[T]he Office of the Commissioner and Players Association will discuss in good faith the economic feasibility of playing games in the absence of spectators or at appropriate substitute neutral sites." -- the actual agreement
   21. Stevey Posted: May 12, 2020 at 11:11 AM (#5949712)

MLB will have a season in 2020 only if the following things happen, per Jeff Passan of ESPN:

1.There are no longer any bans on mass gatherings in place that would prevent games from being played in front of fans at the ballpark.


Ah, so your argument then is that the owner's most recent proposal to play fan-less games is null and void. Fair enough then.


There is no agreement out there that stipulates the players have to be the ones bearing the brunt of lower revenues. If games get played, they get their pro-rated salaries, regardless of revenues. In addition, though separate, the two sides can wait until we've actually gotten to the point where the virus is not such a risk before we start games.
   22. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: May 12, 2020 at 11:12 AM (#5949713)
What the players don't want is any connection between revenues and payroll. The reason that the offer is dead on arrival is that it's the first step towards a salary cap.


Yea, that's the point Passan makes in a new article today He also does some back-of-the-envelope guesstimate that players will earn $2.18 billion under the current agreement, and could earn $2.5 billion under this proposal, so their objection seems to be more on principal? Hard to say without specifics.
   23. Steve Balboni's Personal Trainer Posted: May 12, 2020 at 11:26 AM (#5949717)
#22 has it right - the players will push back based on principle - the principle of not having a salary cap. They would rather not play in 2020 than do something which moves down the road of baseball getting a salary cap. Football, basketball, and hockey will figure out a way to get back on the field before baseball does.
   24. Barry`s_Lazy_Boy Posted: May 12, 2020 at 11:42 AM (#5949719)
From Passan on March 28:

His words, not mine


That was 45 days ago!!! That is an eternity in covidland.

And Passan is not the authority on what is going to happen.
   25. The Duke Posted: May 12, 2020 at 12:26 PM (#5949729)
24. It’s simply a summary of the agreement. That’s what was agreed. They contemplated that games could be played without fans, but the initial agreement did not codify that, which is why they are now discussing it.

Put another way, the original agreement put in place a mechanism that could be used if everything went back to normal or if the season was cancelled. It kicked the can down the road on what an agreement would look like in hybrid circumstances. That’s where we are now.

An agreement will be reached and it will force the players to move from their current position. Or, we won’t have baseball in 2020. It’s my opinion the players will be deeply damaged economically if they die on this hill.
   26. Stevey Posted: May 12, 2020 at 12:30 PM (#5949731)
Yea, that's the point Passan makes in a new article today He also does some back-of-the-envelope guesstimate that players will earn $2.18 billion under the current agreement, and could earn $2.5 billion under this proposal, so their objection seems to be more on principal? Hard to say without specifics.


Passan's analysis wouldn't pass first grade math.

4.3B of gate revenue + 2.5B of local TV + 1.7B of national TV = 8.5B not 10.7B.

Not to mention that there is almost no way that national tv will pay the exact same money for half the games.

If the players were going to be getting a raise from their pro-rated salaries, the owners wouldn't be doing this.
   27. Barry`s_Lazy_Boy Posted: May 12, 2020 at 12:55 PM (#5949737)
25: Neat that you went back to Passan article for those 3 bullet points, then purposely ignored the sentence immediately preceding them:

The agreement outlines three necessities to start the 2020 season, though it offers significant caveats that allow Manfred -- in consultation with the union -- to override them.
   28. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: May 12, 2020 at 01:13 PM (#5949745)

If the players were going to be getting a raise from their pro-rated salaries, the owners wouldn't be doing this.


Ha, yea, that's an obvious, but very good point.
   29. Rally Posted: May 12, 2020 at 01:41 PM (#5949756)
If the players were going to be getting a raise from their pro-rated salaries, the owners wouldn't be doing this.


Yeah, that's what I was thinking, without looking at any figures. If the owners offered a 50/50 split that projected to raise player pay for next year, and the players rejected it, I think the owners would just say fine, we'll keep our money. (And what the hell were we smoking offering it in the first place?)

The title of this piece is a little weird to me, "approve historic plan" - seems like the language you'd get when all relevant parties come to an agreement.

How bout "Miguel Del Pozo, his agent, wife, mother, and second cousin" agreed to a historic plan to seek a 30 million dollar contract, a record shattering deal for a pitcher with less than one full year of service time (not to mention a 10.61 ERA)" It could be done, but don't think the team will actually sign off on it.
   30. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: May 12, 2020 at 01:44 PM (#5949758)
Post 14:

I doubt anyone was seriously considering resuming and then playing the rest of the season without fans (ie a big source of revenue). The players are starting to make noises that this is what was contemplated but I don’t believe it.


Post 25:

They contemplated that games could be played without fans,

This might be the first accurate use of “concession accepted.”

Put another way, the original agreement put in place a mechanism that could be used if everything went back to normal or if the season was cancelled. It kicked the can down the road on what an agreement would look like in hybrid circumstances. That’s where we are now.
Yes, that’s what I’ve been saying all along. Which is why “There’s already an agreement. End of story.” is not accurate.
   31. Stevey Posted: May 12, 2020 at 02:20 PM (#5949776)
Yes, that’s what I’ve been saying all along. Which is why “There’s already an agreement. End of story.” is not accurate.




Except your analysis reads a lot into the line that isn't actually there. It doesn't say the circumstances of fanless games are not addressed already, or that a new agreement has to be made to play fanless games.

And, of course, the players reading of the entire contract, and not just one line, says that they will be getting pro-rated salaries, so there likely is more precise language that the owners aren't leaking to water-carrying writers.
   32. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: May 12, 2020 at 02:34 PM (#5949784)
It doesn't say the circumstances of fanless games are not addressed already, or that a new agreement has to be made to play fanless games.
I'm not saying it expressly says either of those things. I'm saying that the absolutist take on it - "there's already an agreement - end of story" - is wrong. Fanless games is specifically contemplated as a different circumstance from what the agreement framework would apply to. It's poorly worded, sure, but it at least points to additional discussions for fanless games. There would be no point to the inclusion of that language if the framework was intended to be universal under all circumstances.

And, of course, the players reading of the entire contract, and not just one line, says that they will be getting pro-rated salaries, so there likely is more precise language that the owners aren't leaking to water-carrying writers.
Very much assumes facts not in evidence, and also shows your bias.
   33. Karl from NY Posted: May 12, 2020 at 03:14 PM (#5949799)
#18 and #21: that article was from March 28, which is geological aeons ago in pandemic time. Everyone has woken up to the reality of fanless games by now.

(Coke to a less-aeons-ago #24.)
   34. Karl from NY Posted: May 12, 2020 at 03:18 PM (#5949804)
Passan's analysis wouldn't pass first grade math.

4.3B of gate revenue + 2.5B of local TV + 1.7B of national TV = 8.5B not 10.7B.

This can still add up, there's more pieces than those. If that "gate" number is just tickets, then there's also food, beer, parking, in-stadium advertising. Merchandise both in and out of stadium also isn't in there. Also team and league website operations; not sure if mlb.tv is in either of those TV numbers. And the 2.5B local TV could be the contractual numbers, but the teams who underpay themselves could be making more real money from the TV network operations.
   35. Stevey Posted: May 12, 2020 at 04:02 PM (#5949825)
Very much assumes facts not in evidence, and also shows your bias.


No less bias than you are showing. Sure, assumes facts not in evidence, but there's a reason the line leaked to team-friendly writers wasn't "the salary plan agreed to above is null and void in the event of fanless games".

Whenever the owners would like to share the facts that are currently being withheld from evidence, we can stop assuming them. They are withholding them for a darn good reason.

Fanless games is specifically contemplated as a different circumstance from what the agreement framework would apply to.


Assumes facts not in evidence as well, and the exact facts that the owners would be making sure are in evidence and in front of every single baseball writer if they were in the framework. "Discuss the economic feasibility of playing games" is not "rip up the contract in case of".

It's poorly worded, sure


How many thousands of dollars an hour in legal fees do you think MLB is paying for "poorly worded" deals that they then agree to with the MLBPA? And why in the hell should "poorly worded" ever get to be used an excuse to get out of a deal one makes? If Mike Trout signed a contract that was missing a zero or two, he doesn't get to go back and say "oops, I screwed up, lets start over".

but it at least points to additional discussions for fanless games. There would be no point to the inclusion of that language if the framework was intended to be universal under all circumstances.


Yes, discussions about the economic feasibility of putting games on. The owners can discuss with the MLBPA all they want about how they want the players to cut salaries, and probably even say "okay, there will be no games if we can't have fans". If they had language about how those circumstances were actually different rather than just being able to ask nicely, they would have leaked as much to the media.
   36. McCoy Posted: May 12, 2020 at 04:13 PM (#5949831)
I believe the majors will have 50 man rosters so while they'll give 50% of an unknown pie to the players the existing MLB players will be taking two paycuts. They'll be b taking a cut because of less games and less money because minor leaguers are going to get a big chunk of that 50%. Honestly, MLB is asking the MLBPA to take a huge paycut here for the benefit of the owners.
   37. winnipegwhip Posted: May 12, 2020 at 04:48 PM (#5949851)
Have the owners defined how to create and negotiate revenue or is it something they are not going to do until an agreement with the players is present? I imagine that some of the broadcasting revenue is in flux based upon how the season will be undertaken. Will their negotiation tactics and strategies change if they knew that the players were eating part of the reduction in revenue.
   38. The Yankee Clapper Posted: May 12, 2020 at 07:10 PM (#5949901)
It is both incredibly funny and incredibly sad how much water people will carry for billionaires.
And keep in mind that the owners are already pulling down huge salaries for being the CEO, and most teams have numerous relatives of the owner in executive positions and/or phony-baloney sinecures. None of that is “profit”, it’s all listed as an “expense”. The owners‘ desire to get a 2nd bite at the salary negotiation apple is in keeping with their long-term behavior, but I doubt they can prevail.
   39. McCoy Posted: May 12, 2020 at 07:20 PM (#5949903)
How many individuals still own clubs?
   40. The Yankee Clapper Posted: May 12, 2020 at 07:22 PM (#5949904)
I wonder if the solution is deferred salaries, so players get their money, just not this year. Give 'em the Bobby Bonilla treatment.
Many observers seem to think that will be the eventual “compromise”, with much haggling about how much is deferred and at what, if any, interest rate.
   41. Sunday silence Posted: May 12, 2020 at 07:47 PM (#5949907)
wow this thread just keeps me getting more confused. Here's the first part I dont get:


Salaries were based on total revenues. If MLB total revenues are 60% of normal, paying pro-rated salaries would be a much higher percentage of revenue.


I assume pro rata, meant as percentage of games played. So if the baseball season is only 81 games, the players would only get half their salaries. Is that not the idea we are operating on here?

If total MLB revenue is 60% of normal, and players are getting 50% of normal, it seems to me they are getting a smaller percentage of revenue than normally. Help me out here. WHat am I missing?
   42. The Yankee Clapper Posted: May 12, 2020 at 07:55 PM (#5949909)
If total MLB revenue is 60% of normal, and players are getting 50% of normal, it seems to me they are getting a smaller percentage of revenue than normally. Help me out here. WHat am I missing?
As I understand it, under that scenario, if they only play 81 games, the owners now want to only pay 60% of those half-salaries, or 30% of the original amount owed.
   43. Zach Posted: May 12, 2020 at 07:59 PM (#5949910)
It will be rejected because a reasonable offer was already agreed to.

I think that going forward we will find that "desire to be in a continuing economic relationship" will trump "precise wording of old agreements" in a lot of cases.
   44. Stevey Posted: May 12, 2020 at 08:06 PM (#5949911)
#43 - Except that owners have taken advantage of that attitude by the MLBPA to crush them for what seems like over two decades in CBA negotiations. At some point they have to stop rolling over, and it seems like opening the door for salaries to be directly tied to revenues is that line in the sand.
   45. Zach Posted: May 12, 2020 at 08:15 PM (#5949912)
I'm specifically talking about the coronavirus shutdown, and not specifically about MLB. I think a lot of businesses will find it pointless to precisely litigate the language of old contracts to figure out precisely who takes what pain, and will instead strike side deals to override the old language.

   46. Stevey Posted: May 12, 2020 at 08:32 PM (#5949913)
But again, thats been the PA's attitude for a while - we're still making enough bucks, don't flip the apple cart. And the owners have taken them to the cleaners in response. So much so that the owners feel not even the slightest bit of shame in reneging on the previous agreement just made.
   47. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: May 12, 2020 at 08:44 PM (#5949914)
They’re not reneging on anything just made.

Did the agreement say “the players will get paid their prorated salaries based on games played, and this will happen regardless of whether the games are played with fans,” or did it say “the players will get paid their prorated salaries based on games played, and both sides will discuss fanless games if that has to happen?” It said the latter. The players could have bargained for the former if they wanted that assurance. They did not.

Now, of course they can take the position that their side of the “discussion” is just “um, yeah, our position is we still want our full prorated salaries.” It’s arguable whether that would fulfill the good faith requirement. But the assertion that there is already an agreement in place that definitely governs this situation is just blatantly false and should not be part of the debate.
   48. McCoy Posted: May 12, 2020 at 08:59 PM (#5949917)
Taken them to the cleaners? In what way?
   49. Sunday silence Posted: May 12, 2020 at 09:00 PM (#5949918)
OK that explains a lot. I think I understand all of that. Ok next question:


mLB officials say that teams are expected to lose about 40% of their gross revenue from ticket sales, concessions and parking.


Isnt that an understatement? I mean, they are going to lose almost all their ticket sales, concessions and parking. YEs? Isnt that the expectation? Or we just arent sure what will happen?

If tickets/the other stuff from live bodies amounts to 40%; then arent they also going to lose lots of TV revenue too? They are only playing half the games. Wont they lose some tv revenue? Or are those contracts with fixed payouts? hard to understand that.

I would think they'd have to give up at least some TV revenue too.
   50. McCoy Posted: May 12, 2020 at 09:06 PM (#5949920)
Theoretically there will be high demand for new content. Whether advertisers are in the mood to spend money is another question.

I mean if these games can pull in a 20 rating locally they would pull in big bucks in normal world.
   51. Mayor Blomberg Posted: May 12, 2020 at 09:18 PM (#5949922)
Whatever revenues they lose from games not played are balanced by salaries not paid for games not played, so that's more or less a wash.

Fewer games might increase the value of commercial time not already sold, if any.
   52. Sunday silence Posted: May 12, 2020 at 09:24 PM (#5949924)
But just to be a bit more precise. Are TV contracts paid out per game? Or do they have a fixed amount for an entire season? I cant imagine if they only play 82 games, the networks will pay them the same amount...
   53. The Yankee Clapper Posted: May 12, 2020 at 09:28 PM (#5949927)
I’m amused at the presumption of good faith some are willing to bestow on the owners latest efforts to pay the players less - something they’ve more or less continuously attempted since ~ 1869, including 3 relatively recent bouts of collusion.
   54. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: May 12, 2020 at 09:28 PM (#5949928)
Sinclair CEO Chris Ripley confirms minimum game delivery requirements, which are resolved at the end of a season or calendar year

The sports rights agreements entered into between our RSNs and the professional sports teams typically include a minimum game delivery obligation. Adjustment provisions in those agreements address shortfalls by teams including rebates tied to the number of games actually deliver. Commercially, certain of our affiliation agreements with distributors also include game delivery minimum.

We can — if we cannot deliver the minimum number of games under the agreements, there is a mechanism for distributors to recoup a portion of their carries fees. Each contract is unique and confidential and therefore has different parameters and remedies for any potential shortfall of games deliver. Despite the postponement of games of play, we continue to make payments to the teams and our distribution partners continue to pay us.

The mechanism for truing up for any content not received under our sports rights agreements or not delivered under our affiliation agreements generally takes place at the end of the season or calendar year. While we believe that sports will come back this year and be in high demand at this time, the leagues have not indicated when games will resume. Therefore, we do not know where we will end up in relation to the game delivery minimums. Keep in mind that the NHL and NBA regular seasons were almost complete when the seasons were suspended, so shortfalls in those weeks if any should be minor.


So they are still paying teams right now, and they are still getting paid right now. Any adjustments will take place at the end of the year.

Also, off topic:

Top of mind are the digital reboot and rebranding of our RSN. As part of these efforts, we are developing a more robust and dynamic app that will enhance the user experience, allowing the viewers to interact with live sports in ways that have not been previously available. This eventually is expected to include legalized sports betting capabilities.
   55. McCoy Posted: May 12, 2020 at 09:32 PM (#5949929)
Cable providers require a minimum amount of games from the RSNs. Have no clue what that number is and if they've waived or renegotiated yet. Don't know what the number is between the RSN and the teams.

I know the NBA is required to play a certain amount of games and they're like 3 games shy of it.
   56. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: May 12, 2020 at 09:35 PM (#5949930)
I’m amused at the presumption of good faith some are willing to bestow on the owners latest efforts to pay the players less - something they’ve more or less continuously attempted since ~ 1869, including 3 relatively recent bouts of collusion.
Im not presuming anything. I’m just talking about the language of the agreement (to our knowledge). The presumption is on the part of those who want to discuss all sorts of history, ideology, speculation, etc. rather than the actual agreement.
   57. Howie Menckel Posted: May 12, 2020 at 10:46 PM (#5949943)
Jon Heyman
@JonHeyman
MLB’s position is that it will lose more money if they play games without fans and pay prorated salaries than if they don’t play at all. Thus, owners are saying they will not pay pro-rated salaries.
8:16 PM · May 12, 2020
   58. Howie Menckel Posted: May 12, 2020 at 11:40 PM (#5949948)
from Woj on Twitter:

Participants on a board of governors call Tuesday with NBA commissioner Adam Silver left the virtual meeting increasingly positive about the league's momentum toward a resumption of play this season, sources told ESPN.

Owners and executives on the call were encouraged about the league's progress toward minimizing health risk upon a return and the league office's positive conversations with the National Basketball Players Association about the players' desire to eventually restart the season, sources said.
   59. The Yankee Clapper Posted: May 13, 2020 at 12:06 AM (#5949950)
MLB’s position is that it will lose more money if they play games without fans and pay prorated salaries than if they don’t play at all. Thus, owners are saying they will not pay pro-rated salaries.
We’ll see whether that’s just posturing, but if MLB refuses to play there’s a significant risk that the players will be awarded their pro rata pay in a lawsuit, without MLB taking in any revenue. That’s a big bet to place on contractual language that doesn’t really support MLB having carte blanche to do whatever it wants.
   60. David Nieporent (now, with children) Posted: May 13, 2020 at 12:14 AM (#5949951)
Did the agreement say “the players will get paid their prorated salaries based on games played, and this will happen regardless of whether the games are played with fans,” or did it say “the players will get paid their prorated salaries based on games played, and both sides will discuss fanless games if that has to happen?” It said the latter. The players could have bargained for the former if they wanted that assurance. They did not.
It did not say the latter. It said the former.

EDIT: I mean, not literally word for word, obviously; if it had that word for word there'd be no dispute at all. But it just said, "The players will get paid their prorated salaries based on games played." Which means "regardless of anything." It then said, elsewhere in the agreement, that the parties will discuss the feasibility of playing fan-free games. That was in no way connected to the salary issue.
   61. Misirlou cut his hair and moved to Rome Posted: May 13, 2020 at 12:16 AM (#5949952)
We’ll see whether that’s just posturing, but if MLB refuses to play there’s a significant risk that the players will be awarded their pro rata pay in a lawsuit, without MLB taking in any revenue. That’s a big bet to place on contractual language that doesn’t really support MLB having carte blanche to do whatever it wants.


If this is really about sneaking in a salary cap, they may want to place that bet.
   62. Walt Davis Posted: May 13, 2020 at 04:47 AM (#5949957)
Sunday Silence ... Some of your confusion may be the same reason I took a double-take when I first read those figures. Although it's not phrased this way, I think when they say "60%" (or whatever) they mean "60% of what they would normally take in over X games" where X is however many games they'll actually play. Basically, they've already factored in the reduced season in their "gross revenue." So an 81 game season would produce 30% of a standard full season's revenue (60% of 50%) ... they then want to give the players half of that or 15% of standard season revenue. As it stands, if players get 42% of revenue in a standard season, a pro-rata salary would get them 21% standard season revenue. That is, the owners may be proposing a 30% pay cut for the players with this proposal. (i made up the numbers, but sounds like that's in the ballpark.)

Anyway, what I think they are saying is (a) tix, etc. usually account for 40% of revenue and that's gone; (b) leaving 60% of the revenue normally generated by X games.

From the player's perspective though, I'm thinking that a permanent change to a 50% revenue guarantee would likely work in their favor -- assuming there aren't loopholes allowing owners to hide revenues. And whether they hate a salary cap or not, they've pretty much got one with the lux tax threshold as a convenient excuse for teams to limit payroll. And given central/shared revenue payouts to teams were roughly equal to the lux tax threshold payroll, they really need to boost that threshold substantially to maintain the current system.

By the way, the cable (actually satellite) TV company here is apparently getting killed during this because there's no sport and all the un/under-employment. So cable cutting is apparently way up and they are concerned those folks won't come back even when sports return. They're offering "big" discounts of about 50% off their usual price and they're throwing in netflix ... but that still leaves them 3-4 times more expensive than just netflix. But it's also not clear any of the Oz sports leagues are really going to survive this. Rugby starts up again in a couple of weeks; AFL a couple of weeks after that. I guess we'll find out soon. I assume the first games back will draw huge ratings for the games on free TV but then all those folks who weren't watching rubgy before will remember why.
   63. Sunday silence Posted: May 13, 2020 at 06:15 AM (#5949958)

So they are still paying teams right now, and they are still getting paid right now. Any adjustments will take place at the end of the year.


OK but then how will the MLBPA know what 50% of revenue is prior to the TV networks handing back millions of dollars to teams after the season is over?
   64. Sunday silence Posted: May 13, 2020 at 06:17 AM (#5949959)
Sunday Silence ... Some of your confusion may be the same reason I took a double-take when I first read those figures. Although it's not phrased this way, I think when they say "60%" (or whatever) they mean "60% of what they would normally take in over X games" where X is however many games they'll actually play.


Yes I think you're right. Your post at the top of the page is what made me starting thinking about the whole thing a little more circumspect. you always provide consistent insight here.
   65. Sunday silence Posted: May 13, 2020 at 06:19 AM (#5949960)
I believe the majors will have 50 man rosters so while they'll give 50% of an unknown pie to the players the existing MLB players will be taking two paycuts.


My understanding from one of the recent articles (if not the one linked here) is that the current proposal calls for 30 man rosters and 20 man taxi squad. But you may have better insight into this than me.
   66. Sunday silence Posted: May 13, 2020 at 06:31 AM (#5949961)
It then said, elsewhere in the agreement, that the parties will discuss the feasibility of playing fan-free games. That was in no way connected to the salary issue.


Well come on, if some sort of contractual performance is "not feasable" then you're going to have at least some wiggle room to void the contract. Can they be forced to put on a baseball league with no fans, and no gate revenue. What if they can prove they'll lose money in that situation? Can they still be forced to put on a league?

I mean, the bottom line would be: if the league cannot go forward with no live fans, then playing baseball is "not feasible." Does that void the contract? To put a finer spin on this: the MLBPA and the owners agreed a couple months ago that the "feasability" of baseball was still in doubt. Agreed? RIght? Clearly if the issue of feasibility was still open then obviously both sides agree that it was not a settled question. Perhaps a pedantic point, but maybe a clever legal point?

Also related question: I thought I heard that the Comm'r has the power to suspend league operations in the event of an emergency. Does he really have this sort of power? And is it relevant to the the present situation?
   67. McCoy Posted: May 13, 2020 at 07:30 AM (#5949964)
Re 65. That's a 50 man roster. For a game they have 30 players but they've got a total of 50 guys to choose from.
   68. Rally Posted: May 13, 2020 at 07:42 AM (#5949966)
Re 65. That's a 50 man roster. For a game they have 30 players but they've got a total of 50 guys to choose from.


Sounds like a recipe for 13 position players on a roster with 37 pitchers to choose from. Pitchers who pitched yesterday just go to the inactive side. No pitcher works for more than an inning, and no roster requirements force teams off that model.

Is this the baseball we want to see? Maybe we're better off watching classic games for the summer.
   69. McCoy Posted: May 13, 2020 at 08:04 AM (#5949968)
8 starters, at least 2 more catchers (probably a 3rd), back up SS, backup CF, 2 backup OFers, 2 backup INF, big bat righty, big bat lefty. 18 position players.

I don't know the rules for the 30 man roster but I'm guessing they won't need to carry all 5 or 6 starters at all times. You could theoretically carry one starter, 11 relievers, and the 18 position players.
   70. Stevey Posted: May 13, 2020 at 09:58 AM (#5949992)
“the players will get paid their prorated salaries based on games played, and both sides will discuss fanless games if that has to happen?” It said the latter.




Something about bringing a horse to water and him drinking it about how the latter does nothing to negate the former in this sentence.
   71. Rally Posted: May 13, 2020 at 10:06 AM (#5949995)
If the players want to play they can fire the owners and do it themselves. What are the obstacles to a new 'Player's League'?

One obstacle has been a limited supply of stadiums that can hold 50,000 people for MLB games. But if we're doing this with no fans, we don't need Camden Yards. I have played on several rec league fields in Anne Arundel County that have MLB level dimensions, and one with more* than that. All you need is a field and enough space for the camera crews to set up. Must be thousands, tens of thousands of fields across the country that could fit the bill. Have a team play in a cornfield in Iowa.

The original Player's league might have failed for lack of capitalization (They did actually play a season, so I'm not sure exactly what the downfall was, but I can see how capitalization might have been an issue.) Not a problem if some of the veterans are willing to front a bit of money - one 30m contract earned in the past could provide a 50,000 stipend for 600 players.

If you have the players set up into as many teams as they want, with enough funding to start, then you reach out to the TV networks. Maybe the networks cut a deal to get some baseball programming. Maybe they don't because they don't want to mess up their deal with the owners. If so, maybe go the YouTube route, or bring in some tech bros and start up a streaming service. Players split the proceeds as they wish, paying back the veterans who fronted money at the start.

What are the owners going to do? Claim the players aren't allowed to do this because they are under contract? Does not seem something that could be enforced if the owners are not in fact paying those contracts.

Are you ready for a revolution?

*Unfortunately this is the field that I had by best hit ever, by quality of contact, in a baseball game. Hit the ball deep to left center, one hop off the wall, ended up with a double. It was 360 down the lines and deeper than that in the alleys, would have easily hit a homer if in any other park. Luckily I also hit a grounder to short with runners on base, it led to a comedy of throwing errors, and I eventually came around to score on that one. To balance things out I was credited with a homer on that play.

Edit: 340 down the line. I should leave the 360 in, maybe stretch it to 400 for the back in my day effect. It was a big playing field, bigger than many MLB, but Google maps allows you to measure distance.
   72. Stevey Posted: May 13, 2020 at 10:11 AM (#5950002)
I mean, the bottom line would be: if the league cannot go forward with no live fans, then playing baseball is "not feasible." Does that void the contract? To put a finer spin on this: the MLBPA and the owners agreed a couple months ago that the "feasability" of baseball was still in doubt. Agreed? RIght? Clearly if the issue of feasibility was still open then obviously both sides agree that it was not a settled question. Perhaps a pedantic point, but maybe a clever legal point?



It depends what not economically feasible actually means. Does it mean the owners are no longer guaranteed a profit? Does it mean that the owners would be taking more of a loss than if no games were played, and no salaries were paid out? That one line that keeps being used says the owners get to take the books to the players and show them what the money actually will be and discuss whether it's worth playing the games or not in empty stadiums with the players getting pro-rated salaries, not that they get to unilaterally undo the previous agreement.
   73. Jack Sommers Posted: May 13, 2020 at 10:26 AM (#5950011)
Take this for what it's worth. The guy that posted works in baseball, has connections. I've met him. So no reason to think he's making this phone call up:

So I just got off the phone with an old college buddy who went to law school and is a semi retired agent with 35 years in sports.

He specialized in NFL but has about a half dozen still active ML and MiLB players so he got a copy of the proposal the owners sent to the players.

Universal DH is not part of the deal, so if the players accept pitchers will hit in NL parks.

However…

The players view "revenue sharing" as a salary cap and there is zero chance this, or any other proposal will pass with similar language.

He said both sides are in agreement if the season is cancelled and Covid is the reason fans will understand and will return without question because everything else stopped. Baseball is just a small part of a big picture. But if the season is cancelled because of money fans will revolt like never before and it will hurt both sides. They will continue to negotiate but if it becomes contentious they’ll pull the plug and blame it on something else.


comment link
   74. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: May 13, 2020 at 10:44 AM (#5950023)
It did not say the latter. It said the former.

EDIT: I mean, not literally word for word, obviously; if it had that word for word there'd be no dispute at all. But it just said, "The players will get paid their prorated salaries based on games played." Which means "regardless of anything." It then said, elsewhere in the agreement, that the parties will discuss the feasibility of playing fan-free games. That was in no way connected to the salary issue.
It quite specifically said the latter. In addition to the clause you want to dismiss, it was widely reported that the entire agreement was expressly conditioned on there not being restrictions on large gatherings.
   75. Stevey Posted: May 13, 2020 at 10:50 AM (#5950030)
Take this for what it's worth.


This all seemed pretty obvious to even us non-connected types. Of course MLB and the PA weren't going to let the spin be that money was the reason we couldn't get baseball games.
   76. Stevey Posted: May 13, 2020 at 10:53 AM (#5950034)
t was widely reported that the entire agreement was expressly conditioned on there not being restrictions on large gatherings.


Apart from the the "significant caveats that allow Manfred -- in consultation with the union -- to override them."


You'll notice there are no quotes that say there are significant caveats allowing Manfred to override paying players the agreed upon pro-rated share.
   77. . Posted: May 13, 2020 at 11:25 AM (#5950044)
If the players want to play they can fire the owners and do it themselves. What are the obstacles to a new 'Player's League'?


This same question has been asked every time there's been a labor issue for like 40 years now, and the answer, oft-proven, remains the same -- because nobody really gives a #### about these guys unless they're sporting the brand names -- "Baltimore Orioles," "New York Mets," "Green Bay Packers," etc. -- people actually do care about.
   78. BillWallace Posted: May 13, 2020 at 11:43 AM (#5950048)
What are the obstacles to a new 'Player's League'?


I've been daydreaming about this for years.

I estimate that the ultimate value that the top 750 baseball players in the world (vs the next 750) bring, vs the value brought by the Franchises (brand value primarily, and also value of the established organization, capital, deals in place), is something like 70-30 or 80-20 in favor of the players (assuming a time frame of 5-10 years).

In a Player's League fresh start the players value would be a bit lower to start, but as the old brand value faded to be replaced by the new it would continually increase.

It follows that if both sides had similar negotiating power then the surplus value from the business of baseball would accrue in that ratio to the players and owners respectively. But as we all know it's much easier for the owners to act collectively and cohesively than the players. They negotiate much better and retain more of the surplus value than they otherwise would.

Because I have a fetish for fairness, I've secretly wished that the players would rally behind some charismatic leader and for once bargain on equal terms, even though I know this would mean no baseball for some period of time. Now that we have the shutdown, this would have been the perfect time. But alas we're going to end up with the owners sticking it to the players again.

   79. BillWallace Posted: May 13, 2020 at 11:45 AM (#5950050)
because nobody really gives a #### about these guys unless they're sporting the brand names -- "Baltimore Orioles," "New York Mets," "Green Bay Packers,"


Well this is not true at all. Even if you remove the hyperbole, the abject failure of every 'replacement player' situation in every major sport in history 'oft-proves' exactly the opposite.
   80. BillWallace Posted: May 13, 2020 at 11:59 AM (#5950056)
I referenced the split of the surplus value between players and teams in my previous post. Does anyone know how to estimate what it actually is?

For the players, the surplus value would be their total salaries, because the replacement value (the value of their labor absent baseball) is negligible in comparison.
Passan estimated player salaries at $4.2-$4.4B

For the franchises I'm not sure exactly how to figure it. You surely can't figure it from income statements, because those are all tangled up with RSN ownership, shell parking companies, sinecures, etc. Can you estimate it from the value of the franchises themselves?

Forbes published a valuation of $53B for all 30 in total (and don't they end up low, historically speaking? I always remember actual franchise sale prices being much higher than Forbes says they will be).

Is there a shorthand calculation for surplus value/year vs valuation? Is it just a basic time value of money/interest rate? Is the Forbes $53B a useful number?
I suppose depending on how you figure it the players might be in a better position than I thought, which would surprise me. But I'm always open to being wrong. Any finance experts that can shed some light?
   81. Ron J Posted: May 13, 2020 at 12:30 PM (#5950068)
#80 I haven't done a study on the matter for nearly two decades so the precise results of my studies wouldn't apply. Neither would Zimbalist's but interestingly the general take probably still holds up. Here's the results of Zimbalist's study from Baseball and Billions.


Zimbalist breaks players into 3 broad categories. Apprentices, Journeymen and Masters. (Players with no arbitration rights, players with arbitration rights and free agency rights respectively)

Category     Exploitation   High Exploitation  Rate of return
Apprentices     77.6%           71.8%             4.8
Journeymen      66.9
%           39.9%             1.8
Masters         38.5
%           11.2%             0.8 


Zimbalist made an estimate of revenue contribution for the player. Exploitation is the percentage of players whose MRP (Marginal Revenue Produced) was greater than their salary. High exploitation is the percentage of players whose MRP was at least double their salary. [And I didn't choose the category names]

Rate of return is MRP/salary

Zimbalist's study showed that ability explained only about 30% of the variation in the salary of "masters". Veteran players are uniformly over-paid. Curiously, service time explains salary better than talent.

Some things that I discovered when looking into the issue. Perception of team quality is about twice as important as actual team quality in explaining marginal revenue. Zimbalist used previous year's winning percentage. I found that you get better results by account for recent playoff success, opening day payroll (and what's driving changes. Perceived salary dumps are always a huge negative while the first big free agent signing appears to function as extremely effective advertising)

Because marginal revenue is less important these days, I wouldn't be at all surprised to find that "Masters" (to use Zimbalist's terms) are even less cost-effective than they used to be.
   82. Crispix Attacksel Rios Posted: May 13, 2020 at 01:18 PM (#5950090)
Perception of team quality is about twice as important as actual team quality in explaining marginal revenue. Zimbalist used previous year's winning percentage. I found that you get better results by account for recent playoff success, opening day payroll (and what's driving changes. Perceived salary dumps are always a huge negative while the first big free agent signing appears to function as extremely effective advertising)

I keep being fascinated by the popularity of the Brewers and lack of popularity of the Indians under similar conditions of success. The Indians being known for salary dumps seems like the biggest factor.
   83. Rally Posted: May 13, 2020 at 01:35 PM (#5950099)
This same question has been asked every time there's been a labor issue for like 40 years now, and the answer, oft-proven, remains the same -- because nobody really gives a #### about these guys unless they're sporting the brand names -- "Baltimore Orioles," "New York Mets," "Green Bay Packers," etc. -- people actually do care about.


I've been around enough to have vivid memories of the last 40 years of labor strife. I was a bit too young for the short 72 strike and beginning of free agency, but I started watching games before the 81 strike. You are right that this question always gets asked by some.

I do not doubt brand names have some value, but as stated above, attempts to use replacement players show that it isn't everything.

Ballplayers do not have to generate 100% of revenue with a player's league model - if they can get above 40%, they are better off. It's a mix of factors that led to obstacles in the path, and I think one of them is that there are very few MLB quality stadiums in major markets, and those stadiums are controlled by the current owners. Not everything has changed, but in the current situation that is one obstacle that has been removed. The players can easily get access to a number of ballfields that are 100% as good as the current fields if no fans are allowed and all you need is a camera crew.
   84. BillWallace Posted: May 13, 2020 at 01:39 PM (#5950102)
re: #81

Thanks Ron. This is very interesting. But I'm not sure exactly how to port this information into my formulation of things. I'm going to give it a shot.

If I said that I thought that the Players should earn 2/3 of the surplus value and the Franchises should earn 1/3. Would that be the same as saying that the Rate of Return in your table above should average 1.5? Because if it were 1.0 then the owners would be getting no marginal revenue above cost, and I think they clearly should get some.

If that's true then I guess I think the RoR should be like 1.3 or so. But I'm not sure from that table what it is in aggregate. I'm also not sure if my formulation is ignoring an important factors of capital investment.

Was Zimbalist's conclusion that the players were significantly underpaid in aggregate?
   85. David Nieporent (now, with children) Posted: May 13, 2020 at 01:45 PM (#5950104)
it was widely reported that the entire agreement was expressly conditioned on there not being restrictions on large gatherings.
That makes no sense, since (again) they said that they would discuss whether it was economically feasible to play with no fans.
   86. David Nieporent (now, with children) Posted: May 13, 2020 at 01:46 PM (#5950107)
If the players want to play they can fire the owners and do it themselves. What are the obstacles to a new 'Player's League'?
You mean besides the fact that many of the best players are under contract?
   87. winnipegwhip Posted: May 13, 2020 at 02:17 PM (#5950122)
If the revenue stream for a Player's League was initially going to be through broadcasts and all they need was baseball stadiums I can think of 40 minor league facilities which the owners would love work in partnership with the players. Having Manfred trying to muscle both parties to meet MLB's short-sighted demands would be a great starting point to build a relationship.
   88. Ron J Posted: May 13, 2020 at 02:29 PM (#5950129)
#84 In aggregate players came out as objectively underpaid but very unequally distributed. I have a feeling that guaranteed revenue has now hit the point that they're possibly overpaid and even more unequally distributed. I think a good way to look at this would be the standard deviation of player salaries. Maybe with some kind of inflation adjustment.

I'm not sure how to do what you want though. I've always advocated thinking of players as revenue generating assets rather than costs, so to my mind 1.0 is your baseline.

But it's not as simple as that. You need to factor in how much a signing factored into making playoffs (and best I can tell this is a binary. No revenue boost for close but no cigar) or winning the World Series (again this appears to be a yes/no and has an impact that lingers for a couple of years)

Plus as I said, your biggest off-season signing appears to have an impact beyond the on field contribution -- which helps justify pursuing free agents in the first place.

Zimbalist has good methodology for getting value of on-field contribution (though as I said, I tweaked it). Forbes has the data needed. I don't know if there's a site that maintains past year Forbes data. I used to get my data from Rod Fort's site and I have no idea whether that's still maintained.

   89. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: May 13, 2020 at 02:34 PM (#5950132)
That makes no sense, since (again) they said that they would discuss whether it was economically feasible to play with no fans.
It makes perfect sense - “We’re making this agreement now to address how to resume games with fans, assuming there are no restrictions on large gatherings, and we will have a separate discussion about what to do about fanless games if necessary.”

Are you just “creative lawyering” here?
   90. Barry`s_Lazy_Boy Posted: May 13, 2020 at 03:40 PM (#5950153)
We've long accepted that baseball is a regional sport, where fans focus on their own teams.

In a Players League, particularly one without fans in the stands, this local and regional draw doesn't exist.

Former MLB players broadcasting games from fanless stadiums with totally new names and zero regional ties is going to be a ratings failure. If ZoomBaseball includes the Cubs and Yankees, it somewhat works. The Sunshines vs. the Gumballs does not.

The players are going to cut off their nose to spite their face.
   91. Ron J Posted: May 13, 2020 at 03:49 PM (#5950157)
#90 It is a lose/lose scenario. I'd look on a Player's League as a bargaining tool more than anything else. Yes, it would take years to build up any kind of long-term loyalty and without it they aren't going to draw.

But without established players it's pretty clear MLB would also take a huge hit. And the damage would likely be long term.
   92. DL from MN Posted: May 13, 2020 at 04:16 PM (#5950167)
I keep being fascinated by the popularity of the Brewers and lack of popularity of the Indians under similar conditions of success.


Probably all about mascots. Bernie Brewer is way better than Chief Wahoo. I do admire the Brewers' tendency to go for it when they can get a playoff berth.
   93. BillWallace Posted: May 13, 2020 at 06:19 PM (#5950209)
I have a feeling that guaranteed revenue has now hit the point that they're possibly overpaid and even more unequally distributed


I think this is the part that I don't get. It seems to imply that if the owners decided to equally share all revenue that the marginal revenue of a great player belonging to a team would fall to 0, and therefore the players wouldn't need to be paid anything. But that's a preposterous result. Just because they've created a system that largely divorces a team's marginal revenue from team quality doesn't mean that TOTAL revenue doesn't depend on TOTAL player quality.

If ZoomBaseball includes the Cubs and Yankees, it somewhat works. The Sunshines vs. the Gumballs does not.


The thought experiment that I think is the most relevant is what happens if they exist at the same time? What if you had Red Sox v Yankees with AAAA players, and on the other channel you had Verlander wearing a Sunshines jersey pitching to Trout rocking Gumball blue. I don't know about you, but I'd watch Trout even from day 1, and after some history was established it would be even more true.

To the extent that we have any evidence on any of this, I think the strongest conclusions we can draw is that no one is interested in watching the 800-1600th best players play while wearing the uniforms of what are supposed to be the best in the world, while the best in the world are sitting at home.
   94. McCoy Posted: May 13, 2020 at 06:32 PM (#5950214)
Players come and go. I'd have no desire to see the Atlanta Pollen Dust featuring Kris Bryant vs Las Vegas Desert Owls featuring Anthony Rizzo.

Hell, I'd have no desire to watch the Pittsburgh Pirates featuring Bryant and Rizzo.
   95. Ron J Posted: May 13, 2020 at 06:38 PM (#5950216)
93 The current structure creates odd results. There's tons of money out there and only a small part of it is related to near term quality. The players with no free agency rights are cost controlled and the supply of elite players on the open market is limited.

A lot of that money is going to go back into the players and it's mostly going to the masters who (as a group) are objectively overpaid. I'm reasonably confident the degree of overpaidness (I know it's not a word) has risen.

And the reason I'm fairly confident of this is that there's no worse investment (as a group) than mid-tier "masters". Because they're heading into the age where decline is likely and if they slip you're going to want to replace them.
   96. Zach Posted: May 13, 2020 at 08:17 PM (#5950255)
So a Players' League would be building their own stadiums, doing their own marketing, signing their own prospects, etc?

It doesn't seem that appealing, honestly. You'd have to throw quite a lot of money into the kitty to start with, and buy in / cash out players when they got promoted or cut.

"Welcome to the majors, Rook. Here's your bill for 1/900 of $30 billion."

A pretty high fraction of players' net worth would be tied up in their share of the partnership.

Getting paid a straight salary with none of your capital at risk sounds pretty good by comparison.
   97. The Yankee Clapper Posted: May 13, 2020 at 08:30 PM (#5950258)
We aren’t going to have a Players League. There’d be a lot of litigation, difficulty in organizing, finding suitable sites, valuing media rights, and some reluctance to invest in a risky venture during a pandemic. We’ll either get MLB or nothing.
   98. Ron J Posted: May 13, 2020 at 08:33 PM (#5950259)
96 And as DMN notes there are issues of existing contracts. I don't even know how some form of barnstorming while being locked out would work. I do know there are nasty insurance issues.
   99. Karl from NY Posted: May 13, 2020 at 10:43 PM (#5950284)
the abject failure of every 'replacement player' situation in every major sport in history 'oft-proves' exactly the opposite.

Does any of those situations really make us able to say that? The NFL succeeded and everything else was inconclusive.

The NFL successfully staged games with replacement players in 1987. It wasn't exactly on par with the regular product, but it proved feasible enough for the owners to force the union into settling, and it's still the weakest in the major sports.

MLB had spring training with replacements in 1995, and would have started the season that way except for court intervention.

The NHL and NBA in their lockout seasons talked about starting the following season with replacements, but settled before it came to that.

Although not that any of that really matters. #97 is right, we're not doing a players' league or replacement league this year, it's going to be MLB or nothing.
   100. Sunday silence Posted: May 14, 2020 at 08:32 AM (#5950333)
You mean besides the fact that many of the best players are under contract?


Maybe this is a dumb questions but: if the owners/ players cannot agree on what terms to play baseball, cant players argue that their contracts are voided since they are not being paid under the terms of the contract?

Or so some/all of these contracts have opt outs for "Acts of God" types of events?

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