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MLB, Owners Trying to Expand Playoffs, Delay Season, (Apparently) Drive Away Fans


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What are the roster rules for 2021? We don’t know. What is the playoff format for 2021? We don’t know. How long will the 2021 season be? We don’t know.Jeff Passan of ESPN reported last month that the league is trying to get expanded playoffs approved in exchange for the league approving the designated hitter being universal going forward.

 

MLB appears to already be negotiating broadcasting rights for the expanded playoff rounds with ESPN and sent a memo to teams advising them to plan on not having a universal DH in 2021. Well, per Buster Olney teams are actually operating under the assumption that the National League will, in fact, have the DH in 2021.

 

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The tea leaves have predicted Covid isn’t going away any time soon. No fans means less money. The “They don’t care about us” is pretty selfish.  Everybody loses in the pandemic.

The new owners of FSN playing hardball with the revenue streams. That does not seem out of the ordinary. Where is the they do not care about the fans comment there?

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The tea leaves have predicted Covid isn’t going away any time soon. No fans means less money. The “They don’t care about us” is pretty selfish.  Everybody loses in the pandemic.

The new owners of FSN playing hardball with the revenue streams. That does not seem out of the ordinary. Where is the they do not care about the fans comment there?

 

The TV situation is mentioned in the final paragraph. Embarrassing that in a time most other things are getting easier to watch, it's getting more difficult to see baseball in some areas. 

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I thought almost everything changed has to be "approved" by the MLBPA. Why should the owners take a loss with no gameday receipts and other losses and the players lose nothing. Seems the owners have to take all the risk.
NOT A GOOD PLAN!

 

Owners are not taking a loss. Baseball America did some great reporting in April on revenues. The estimate is attendance accounts for 30% of teams revenues. Forbes reported that MLB saw $10.7 billion in revenues in 2019, and players were set to have been pad a little more than $4 billion entering 2019. Of course, those salaries were prorated to about 37% (60/162).

 

Seems to me the math is still working out very much in favor of the owners. I think they're gonna be fine. If they don't agree, any MLB owner can cash out for a cool billion dollars any time they'd like. 

 

The player's salaries are not guaranteed, and their careers have limited earning life. Owners, on the other hand, can gain wealth from their franchise for generations. Keeping things local, Carl Pohlad bought the Twins for $44 million and they're now estimated to be worth $1.3 billion, per Forbes

 

(and per this inflation estimator $44 million in 1984 comes out to about $110.2 million in 2020)

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MLB Needs to grab the bull by the horns and figure out this streaming thing. The people that are in control of the FS(insert geography here) broadcast situation, which is not MLB in this case have, no incentive to act in the best interest of fans. They treat streaming rights as a 4 month hot potato sold to the highest bidder and the fans who are just trying to do the right (legal) thing are the ones who get hosed. Too much more of this and more and more people will just deal with the moral issues of pirating the broadcast, since it feels like they've been pirating our ability to watch baseball for two years now.

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I thought almost everything changed has to be "approved" by the MLBPA. Why should the owners take a loss with no gameday receipts and other losses and the players lose nothing. Seems the owners have to take all the risk.
NOT A GOOD PLAN!

The owners take on the risk (such as it is) AND the reward. If it is an unexpectedly great season, the players don't get any extra salary--any extra wealth generated goes into the owners' pockets. And, as Tom points out above, every season is a great season for the owners. Last year was less great, but I'm not crying for the owners.

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Owners are not taking a loss. Baseball America did some great reporting in April on revenues. The estimate is attendance accounts for 30% of teams revenues. Forbes reported that MLB saw $10.7 billion in revenues in 2019, and players were set to have been pad a little more than $4 billion entering 2019. Of course, those salaries were prorated to about 37% (60/162).

 

Seems to me the math is still working out very much in favor of the owners. I think they're gonna be fine. If they don't agree, any MLB owner can cash out for a cool billion dollars any time they'd like. 

 

The player's salaries are not guaranteed, and their careers have limited earning life. Owners, on the other hand, can gain wealth from their franchise for generations. Keeping things local, Carl Pohlad bought the Twins for $44 million and they're now estimated to be worth $1.3 billion, per Forbes

 

(and per this inflation estimator $44 million in 1984 comes out to about $110.2 million in 2020)

 

What you have provided here is not remotely adequate in determining profit or loss. You have numbers from a previous year and the only expense you are citing is player’s salary. What about operating expenses. You know … the hundreds of employee’s and all the other operating costs. You also misrepresented loss associated with not having fans in the stands. Ticket sales are 30% of revenue but that’s not the only revenue lost when fans are not present. There are numerous sources that have reported that on average teams acquire 40% of their revenue from fans attending games.

You bias appears in the article title. To presume teams are trying to drive fans away is a self-indulgent response. It’s a freaking pandemic. Not S*** there are ramifications we don’t like.

 

It would also be nice if you offered numbers that only tell both sides of the story. Try look at player salaries adjusted for inflation and their income has grown exponentially more than any other group in the US. Since 1980, salaries have increased 30X. Income for the average household income went up roughly 4X which is roughly the rate in inflation. Were we feeling bad for the wages MLB players made in 1980? I would say MLB players have fared quite well compared to the rest of the world.

 

How about a $4.4M average per player? That’s 80X the average American.  We have pitchers making $1M per start. That’s the equivalent to 20 years for the average person. The average MLB player makes 8X more than the next highest (Nippon) league in the world. MLB players have the same options the rest of us have. They can go work elsewhere if their compensation is not adequate.

 

Greed is present throughout the sport. From Fox Sports to the Owners and the players. Let’s be real, most players want every dime they can get. They are probably the greediest of all the groups benefiting from the revenue gains MLB has experienced. To put it on one group is blindly biased.

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It's hard to cry for the Owners. Yes they take the risk and should get the reward, but they have large public subsidies in the form of stadiums, free publicity from local newspapers, and guaranteed revenue streams from media outlets. It's hard to lose money on a pro sports team from operations, even in baseball (almost impossible to lose money in football). Then, you have to add to that the annual increase in franchise value that they all basically get plus the advantageous tax treatment pro franchises revceive. Frankly, if you're losing money on a major pro sports team there's a problem in your operation so it's your own fault.   

 

Having said that, we probably won't see live baseball before May for the simple reason that fans are not going to be allowed in stadiums outside of the South before then because of the Covid-19 pandemic. The rest of the country is taking this seriously. I live in California and I don't expect stadiums ot be open to partial capacity before May or June and full capacity unitl August or September when we've hit a 80-90% vaccination rate. The Northeast is the same and the Midwest is the biggest hot spot of all right now. This blows but that's the reality.

 

The Baseball owners are at the bottom of the class when it comes to business and entertainment savvy but they aren't going to pay players to play in empty stadiums without revenue streams from fans. Why? Because under the current contract they don't have to. They can simply use the current public health emergency to cut the season and cut salaries. Whereas the NFL and NBA are beholden to TV as a revnue source so they need to play to provide content, baseball doesn't get as much revenue from TV so they can shorten the season with less of a loss. It absolutely will hurt them long term with the public but when was the last time the baseball owners thought long term instead of short term? 

 

My prediction: universal DH, playoffs expanded to 16 teams, and a roughly 140 game season this year that starts in May. The first 2 are permanent changes, the last one temporary. Two more predictions - lots of ugliness all year as the players and MLB negotiate the next contract and the 2022 season is delayed by a strike or a lockout. The fundamental economic and business basis of baseball is changing and not for the better so this next union contract is going to be a battle ground. Oh, and Neslon Cruz signs a 2 year deal with somebody, probably a NL team.    

 

It's there fault they did not plan for a pandemic? Are all of the restaurant owners poor business people? Baseball owners are not savvy? The guys who became billionaires are not business savvy? The people that grew this business in a wildly successful manner for the past 30 years don't get it? Fans expect them to run the business like a charity and then assume they are ignorant when they don't run the team the way the would. We have a pandemic and people expect status quo. The problem here is not owners lack of understanding. 

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Of course owners "took a loss" -- meaning they made less money than they expected. Sure, crocodile tears on that, but you have to understand that making less money -- probably a lot less money -- is a big deal to these guys and is seen as a "loss." 

 

When it comes to the Twins, who always pretend they are so poor they only managed to get running water after Target Field was built, and even since then they still only have intermittent hot water, you can bet they are keenly aware of every dollar they did not make last year.

 

When it comes to the pandemic, sure we are told we will all be vaccinated by May. If you believe this to be true (I expect it will be more like June-August), the baseball season would normally already be in full swing by then, which includes a couple of months of preseason activities. Delaying the season makes sense. You can bet the players and owners want to play as many games as possible and be as "back to normal" as possible. Thankfully, they are being realists about the situation and planning properly.

 

 

 

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The Baseball owners are at the bottom of the class when it comes to business and entertainment savvy but they aren't going to pay players to play in empty stadiums without revenue streams from fans. Why? Because under the current contract they don't have to. 

 

Yup. And that's more than likely what any delays to this coming season are going to be all about: the owners not wanting to pay the players. 

 

We know the owners were comfortable with around an 80-game schedule for 2020. It didn't get shortened to 60 due to health and safety concerns, it was because the players wouldn't give up additional pay. Players just wanted their prorated salaries, owners wanted to implement some kind of a revenue sharing system, as detailed in the last bullet point of this article from Ken Rosenthal.

 

Most players already think spring training is too long, and it's not like there was a traditional spring training immediately preceding the 2020 season. It's possible to get the season rolling in April even without a traditional spring training. So that's not going to be the reason behind the delay, either.

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It would also be nice if you offered numbers that only tell both sides of the story. Try look at player salaries adjusted for inflation and their income has grown exponentially more than any other group in the US. Since 1980, salaries have increased 30X. Income for the average household income went up roughly 4X which is roughly the rate in inflation. Were we feeling bad for the wages MLB players made in 1980? I would say MLB players have fared quite well compared to the rest of the world.

 

Players lost about 63% of their pay in 2020. Owners lost an estimate of 30% of their expected revenue. We don't know their exact numbers because they won't open their books.

 

The argument is the owners are not giving the players their fair shake, regardless of what that equates to in relation to the average person.

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What you have provided here is not remotely adequate in determining profit or loss. You have numbers from a previous year and the only expense you are citing is player’s salary. What about operating expenses. You know … the hundreds of employee’s and all the other operating costs. You also misrepresented loss associated with not having fans in the stands. Ticket sales are 30% of revenue but that’s not the only revenue lost when fans are not present. There are numerous sources that have reported that on average teams acquire 40% of their revenue from fans attending games.

You bias appears in the article title. To presume teams are trying to drive fans away is a self-indulgent response. It’s a freaking pandemic. Not S*** there are ramifications we don’t like.

 

It would also be nice if you offered numbers that only tell both sides of the story. Try look at player salaries adjusted for inflation and their income has grown exponentially more than any other group in the US. Since 1980, salaries have increased 30X. Income for the average household income went up roughly 4X which is roughly the rate in inflation. Were we feeling bad for the wages MLB players made in 1980? I would say MLB players have fared quite well compared to the rest of the world.

 

How about a $4.4M average per player? That’s 80X the average American.  We have pitchers making $1M per start. That’s the equivalent to 20 years for the average person. The average MLB player makes 8X more than the next highest (Nippon) league in the world. MLB players have the same options the rest of us have. They can go work elsewhere if their compensation is not adequate.

 

Greed is present throughout the sport. From Fox Sports to the Owners and the players. Let’s be real, most players want every dime they can get. They are probably the greediest of all the groups benefiting from the revenue gains MLB has experienced. To put it on one group is blindly biased.

Thank you.

 

Would also like to comment about using the FED inflation factor to demean what the Pohlads have earned, on paper, since buying the club. Those of us receiving Social Security checks just got a notice that inflation went up 1.3% this past year. Talk to your wife or whomever shops for groceries that real cost has gone up only 1.3%.

 

The Pohlads have the business contacts and ability to invest their dollars in lots of places. Take a look at what $44M would be worth had they invested in Microsoft back when the bought the Twins. I believe it would be a hell of a lot more than $1.3B. And there would have been lots of places for them to invest, the fact they chose to put it into the Twins and keep them in the Twin Cities should be commended, not constantly belittled by some.

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Thank you.

 

Would also like to comment about using the FED inflation factor to demean what the Pohlads have earned, on paper, since buying the club. Those of us receiving Social Security checks just got a notice that inflation went up 1.3% this past year. Talk to your wife or whomever shops for groceries that real cost has gone up only 1.3%.

 

The Pohlads have the business contacts and ability to invest their dollars in lots of places. Take a look at what $44M would be worth had they invested in Microsoft back when the bought the Twins. I believe it would be a hell of a lot more than $1.3B. And there would have been lots of places for them to invest, the fact they chose to put it into the Twins and keep them in the Twin Cities should be commended, not constantly belittled by some.

You don't own a sports franchise as the best or wisest way to make money. You own a sports franchise because you want to own a sports franchise. Sure, making money could and should be a secondary concern, but like you said, there are better ways to securely make more money. 

 

That said, if you want to own a sports franchise, I don't understand when owners don't have fun with it. Don't be a cheapskate and make it all about making money. 

 

It does seem that the Pohlads (this generation) are having fun with it and running the organization the right way, from what I can see.  If they only cared about making $ they wouldn't have paid employees who weren't working during the pandemic. 

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I'm so ticked about the TV deals, as a former dish network and former youtube tv subscriber. I would gladly pay mlb 15/month just to watch the Twins, but of course I can't. (without using a vpn workaround) I also can't see highlights trending on twitter, IG or facebook. It's like MLB is trying to keep baseball from being popular with millennials and gen z. 

 

 

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Having 99% of the games only on pay-TV (we might be fortunate enough to have one or two Fox games of the week on broadcast TV) has made it really tough to remain an active fan the past 10 years. If MLB at least lifted the asinine local market blackout for their streaming platforms, they might not be hemorrhaging fans and money so badly.

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You don't own a sports franchise as the best or wisest way to make money. You own a sports franchise because you want to own a sports franchise. Sure, making money could and should be a secondary concern, but like you said, there are better ways to securely make more money. 

 

That said, if you want to own a sports franchise, I don't understand when owners don't have fun with it. Don't be a cheapskate and make it all about making money. 

 

It does seem that the Pohlads (this generation) are having fun with it and running the organization the right way, from what I can see.  If they only cared about making $ they wouldn't have paid employees who weren't working during the pandemic. 

 

What job is more fun than being a professional athlete. By your logic players should be willing to work for about 5% of what they get paid. Seriously, if they got paid 1/4 of what they get paid that would be an average of $1.1M per year. How many would chose to do something else. Less than 1%?

 

Professional athletes in major sports are the most fortunate individuals on the planet. 

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I’m avoiding the money conversation entirely. Until owners open their books we’re doing nothing but yelling at clouds.

 

It’s embarrassing MLB hasn’t given clarity about universal DH. It shouldn’t be difficult to achieve in a day. Vote yes or no. Continuing to drag it out gives the optics that they are intentionally depressing the DH market.

 

No surprise baseball is trending towards being the NBA. It won’t be long until over half of the teams make the playoffs, making regular season play worthless. Then “load management” will enter the chat and our stars will play 100 games because there’s no pressure to make the playoffs.

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.... this is a business and both sides are negotiating. Period end of story. 

 

Not announcing the DH is directly about expanding playoffs.... more money for older players with the DH and more money for the owners with the expanded playoffs. 

 

The drama is par for the course.... stop with all the drama and baseball not caring about fans.... they do... but business is business. 

 

 

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Most players already think spring training is too long, and it's not like there was a traditional spring training immediately preceding the 2020 season. It's possible to get the season rolling in April even without a traditional spring training. So that's not going to be the reason behind the delay, either.

I`m not disagreeing w/ you, I`ve just been under the understanding that spring training was very necessary for the preparation of the season especially for the young players. Needed to get their timing & communications down, etc.  2020 seems to me as an example of a rushed preparation to the season resulting in poor production

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Manfred should benefit from comparisons with Adam Silver, and, perhaps, Roger Goodell.   Thus far, it appears the NHL has done the best job of managing its situation - hard to believe that could happen with Donald Fehr representing the players, but it seems to be true.

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Sorry owners - I have no sympathy for you.  And Manfred - I know you will get in the HOF like other pathetic leaders - think Bud Selig, Kenesaw Mountain Landis, and Bowie Kuhn, but like them you are a toadie of management and not a leader of the sport or fans.

 

You are trying to cut salaries like you did when you ruined the Federal League and immediately dropped salaries.  I have no sympathy for you.  I do not relate to the bloated salaries of todays players, but better them than you.  Manfred is not a baseball man, he is a voice for the owners pocket books. 

 

No one made you sign the big contracts - you did that to yourself, but guess what, you could afford them.  If you want to reach out to the fans don't eliminate the minor league teams, pay the minor leaguers, make minor leagues the home of hope and extend the fan base.  But you have too much gluttony to do that. 

 

Actually you can pay scouts, ground keepers and others who are on the fringe of the game.

 

Or eliminate the reserve clause entirely.  Let all players be free agents no matter when their contracts expire.  Owners can sell the team, teams can sell the players - ask Curt Flood about what the players can do.

 

The players tried with the Players League in 1890 because the owners were so heavy handed. In 1910 the Western League - a minor league decided to challenge MLB.  I love the idea, but the strength was with the big money in MLB.  The black player was ignored until culture finally rejected the premise, then MLB raided the Negro Leagues and left them to die from talent drain.  There was so much more that could have been done to actually merge.  

 

The first Players strike was in 1912 - in Detroit.  Cobb and the others who led this got no hearing for their grievances. In 1946 the Mexican League absorbed players and tried to challenge the league.  They were broken.  Only the really great players were allowed back and others just disappeared. 

 

This is the reason that Miller made the HOF.  He was the first to challenge and change MLB.  Since then we have been threatened with contraction - thanks Pohlads and like all the other challenges the owners wield the check book. 

 

So be careful if you are listening to the reasons that MLB has for its stance.  Be careful where your sympathy lies.  Manfred is not someone I respect and the organization of billionaires - the owners of professional sports are not the ones I respect or would have sympathy with.  

I guess the question of our age is - why MLB?  Why not NFL, NBA, NHL?

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If they don’t like risks they should sell their teams.

That street runs two ways. If an average salary of 4.43M is not adequate or the working conditions too harsh, perhaps MLB players should find another form of employment. I think they have fared exceptionally well compared to the rest of us. If the median income of Americans grew at the same rate as MLB players over the past 50 years … the median household income would be $3.17M. Median household income is actually 68,703, a little less than 2% of what it would be if income for all Americans grew at the same rate as MLB players over the past 50 years.

 

Had MLB players income grown as the same rate as other Americans since 1970, their average salary would be $95,775. In other words, MLB player income has grown at a rate 46X greater than the average American since 1970. To suggest they have been treated poorly is rather fanatical thinking IMO.

 

Any reasonable person adjusts their spending if their income takes a substantial hit. This is pretty straight forward stuff that anyone here would agree to if their circumstances were such. However, owners try to circle the wagons and somehow a portion of fans can’t understand why they won’t spend like nothing has changed.

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