May 17, 2020 2:33 PM

MLB projects $640K per game loss with no fans

Posted May 17, 2020 2:33 PM

UNDATED (AP) — Major League Baseball owners have made their pitch as they try to convince players to accept less pay due to the coronavirus pandemic.

MLB has told players their prorated salaries would contribute to an average loss of $640,000 for each game over an 82-game season in empty ballparks. That’s according to a presentation from the commissioner’s office to the union that was obtained by The Associated Press.

The 12-page document was dated May 12 and paints a grim picture of a $10 billion industry shuttered by the pandemic. It was an initial step in negotiations aimed at starting the delayed season around the Fourth of July.

Some players have publicly balked at the notion of less pay, and the union has called for more transparency in baseball’s financial records.

Teams say the proposed method of salvaging a season delayed by the coronavirus pandemic would still cause a $4 billion loss and would give major league players 89% of revenue. The Yankees would have the highest loss at $312 million.

Teams contend they lose more money with each additional game played. The players' union, however, believes clubs would lose less money with more games. In addition, many teams and/or their owners have stakes in their regional sports network that would benefit from additional games.

Owners voted Monday to propose salaries be based on a 50-50 split of revenue, a framework players say is tantamount to the kind of salary cap they’ll never accept. Teams gave the players' association their virus-testing plan Friday and have waited to make their economic proposal.

Meanwhile, MLB has created a 67-page draft of its proposed 2020 Operations Manual, which has been obtained by The Associated Press and was first reported by The Athletic.

Among the routine changes include players possibly arriving in uniform and being discouraged to take showers at ballparks. Team personnel will be banned from eating at restaurants on road trips, and mascots like the Phillie Phanatic and Mr. Met would be prohibited from the ballparks. The traditional exchange of lineup cards would be eliminated, along with high-fives, fist bumps, bat boys and bat girls.

Spitting is prohibited along with water jugs and the use of saunas, steam rooms, pools and cryotherapy chambers. Hitting in indoor cages is discouraged, batting gloves encouraged.

Batting practice pitchers are to wear masks, dugout telephones disinfected after each use. Players may not touch their face to give signs, and they’re not allowed to lick their fingers. Teams are encouraged to hold meetings outdoors, players spread apart.

Teams will be allowed to have 50 players each under the plan, with the number active for each game still be negotiated.