MLB Owners Say They Could Lose $4 Billion Even If Games Are Played. Does That Math Add Up?

Leave it to baseball: Somehow the biggest impediment to starting the 2020 season isn’t the deadly pandemic swirling around us, but rather dollars and cents. Several MLB proposals to cut player salaries were rejected by the players’ association, with both players and agents blasting the owners’ plans as yet another breach of trust in a relationship full of them. A counterproposal was filed by the union Sunday afternoon, which — according to ESPN’s Jeff Passan — is expected to be rejected by the league, though it might be a path to an eventual agreement. The crux of the argument is around how much of a salary hit players should take to offset the lost revenue not only from playing an abbreviated season with fewer games but also from having to play without fans in the stands — a major source of league revenue — when games do start. In March, the players came to what they believed was a firm agreement to prorate their salaries relative to how much of a full 162-game schedule is played (so, 50 percent of a full salary in an 81-game season, and so forth). The owners have claimed that agreement didn’t cover the eventuality of playing games without fans, and that they have the right to negotiate further salary reductions to offset the reduction in revenue.

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