MLB to union: New financial plan or wait it out

Major League Baseball has told the Players Association that the union needs to either work out a new financial arrangement or wait until the COVID-19 pandemic dies down and fans can attend games again before the 2020 season can begin.

This is according to a report by Jon Heyman.

In March, the league and union came to agreement to pay players a prorated portion of their 2020 salary. It was understood at this time that fans may not be able to attend games in 2020.

However, MLB has since tried to backtrack from that deal. The league projects they will lose $640,000 per game over an 82-game schedule if they have to pay players their prorated salaries. The union has requested access to the league's financial documents to confirm those figures.

Instead, league owners have proposed a 50-50 revenue split with the players, though nothing has been officially offered to the players yet. MLB projects players will receive about 89 percent of revenues under the prorated arrangement without fans in attendance.

Rob Manfred has said gate receipts account for about 40 percent of the league's revenue.

Revenue sharing has long been a sensitive subject between the two sides, including being the cause for the 1994-1995 player's strike. Union leader Tony Clark said any season proposal that includes revenue sharing is a non-starter.

It is becoming increasingly doubtful that fans will be able to attend games this season. In a best case scenario, MLB could follow the lead of the Taiwan baseball league, who are allowing 1,000 fans into games, if the public health situation improves.

The league hopes to have players return for a second spring training around June 10 so they could start the regular season in early July. Assuming the league will require players to self-isolate for two weeks before spring training, that means they would need to have to get a deal done with the union in about a week in order to keep that schedule. Both sides have agreed to have the season extend into October and to play double-headers to play more games if necessary.

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