MLB in jeopardy over $1.1 billion risk

Major League Baseball has rejected the players’ proposal for a 114-game schedule in the pandemic-delayed season.

Instead it told the players union that teams have no reason to think 82 games is possible and suggested that figure could even be reduced.

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Players made their proposal on Sunday, five days after management’s initial economic plan. Opening day would be June 30 and the regular season would end on October 31. Management has said it will discuss a schedule of about 50 games, which would result in players receiving about 30 per cent of their full salaries under the deal for pro rata pay the union agreed to in March.

Deputy Commissioner Dan Halem wrote in a letter on Wednesday to chief union negotiator Bruce Meyer obtained by The Associated Press: “the commissioner is committed to playing baseball in 2020.

“He has started discussions with ownership about staging a shorter season without fans.”

MLB does not want to play past October because it fears a second wave of the coronavirus could disrupt the post-season and jeopardise $787 million ($AU1.1 billion) in broadcast revenue.

MLB commissioner Rob Manfred speaks to the media.Source:AP

Teams and players hope to start the season in ballparks with no fans, and teams claim they would sustain huge losses if salaries are not cut more. The sides agreed to a deal on March 26 in which players accepted prorated salaries in exchange for $170 million ($AU245 million) in advances and a guarantee that if the season is scrapped each player would get 2020 service time matching what the player accrued in 2019.

The union has said no additional cuts are acceptable.

Meanwhile, Major League Soccer and its players’ union agreed to a six-year labour contract through to 2025.

It paves the way for a tournament in Florida, involving all 26 teams and not lasting more than 35 days, after the season was suspended by the coronavirus pandemic.

The deal was announced on Wednesday following tense talks that led to some players skipping voluntary workouts and the league threatening a lockout. MLS Commissioner Don Garber said the league expects to take a $1 billion ($AU1.4 billion) revenue hit because of the coronavirus.

AP

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