It Appears We're Going to Have Pro Sports This Summer
We may be still some 60-days away, but it appears we have our first commitment to resuming Professional Sports.
That's right, the NBA has agreed and will formally vote to resume games--albeit with some changes, beginning July 31st.
In the COVID-19 world we still inhabit, the league will play their games in a largely self-contained environment at Walt Disney World. It's not clear if the players and their families will live in dorms or how that will work--but the protocols and plan has been agreed upon by all.
No, it's not going to include all 30-teams, only the 22 who have legitimate shots at making a playoff and the eligible teams will start gearing up and training locally at their team facilities before relocating to sunny--and warm Orlando, F-L-A....
Now...contrast that brief description with the other sport normally in season at this time of year (early Jun), baseball. Yes, baseball is trying to make their way back into the public consciousness---but coming to an agreement on how to do it...well, that's another issue.
Within Major League Baseball and the MLB Players Association, let's just say there are some "Disagreements" on the best way forward and it is increasingly making everyone involved in the sport look stupid.
The MLBPA, they've already given up a lot. They've agreed to a pro-rated salary structure among other concessions, but they want to play. In fact, the MLBPA's proposal to restart had aimed for some 114 games to stretch from July until the end of the season. Yes, it means the players would get paid a little bit more.
The owners however are of a different viewpoint. Their proposal started at 82 games and has now whittled down to 50.
What's the difference you ask? Well, mostly it's financial. Yes, team owners are going to take a financial hit in 2020. But team owners can afford it. Still they cut and cut and cut without disclosing how much money they will or normally take in.
Last week, several MLB teams whacked a large percentage of their minor league rosters for the sake of saving money. That savings according to multiple reports--adds up to just over a million dollars. Which for a billionaire team owner, is pocket change.
Don't get me wrong---there's a lot at stake. Without fans, the teams stand to lose $50-$100 million...in some cases much more than that. It's a lot of money, even for a billionaire.
But also keep in mind---the loss is something most of them will just write off because in the current universe in which we live, rich folks can write off losses much easier than any of us can.
Don't feel too sorry for the players though. Many can whether this if they so choose. There's nothing requiring an athlete making well into 7-figures a year to own multiple expensive cars and a mega-mansion while paying family and friends to be an entourage. They too can cut costs.
It's the rank and file players who have the most to lose here. Most guys closer to the end of the bench don't make that much money and losing 50% or more of it will hurt. Badly.
Baseball needs to find a way to get past this. The game while beautiful and much more deliberate than say, the NBA, is struggling to maintain younger fanbases and not playing or haggling over who is going to pay for losses is not a way to keep your audience.
The players in many ways are in the right here and should only give so much. If you're net worth is $1,000,000,000 or more---losing $100,000,000 may move you out of the billionaires club, but it hardly will put you in the poor house. Unless you want your multi-billion in dollar value franchise to start withering away, I suggest you might considering absorbing a loss this year in order to put a product on the field.
We'll watch. And we'll root for your team or other teams and players. But we'll definitely watch. Yeah, sure you're going to lose in person revenue, but it would be a small price to pay to regain your legitimacy. (I almost said Pride and Dignity--but didn't. Or did I?)