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MLB looks for audience lift in reformatted Draft

Annual event cut from typical 40 rounds to five amid pandemic Team personnel will stay in their respective markets Remote-based TV production will resemble NFL, WNBA Drafts Major League Baseball initially had some very big plans for the 2020 First-Year Player Draft. After a decade of staging the Draft on-site at MLB Network studios in Secaucus, New Jersey, the league was set to move it this year to Omaha, Nebraska, site of the NCAA’s College World Series, and give the event that historically existed deep in the shadows of comparable Drafts for the National Football League and National Basketball Association a far greater spotlight. Then the Covid-19 pandemic hit.   Because of the resulting economic and societal impacts from the public health crisis, the 2020 Draft, set for June 10-11, has been slashed from its customary 40 rounds to a mere five. The event is also shifting to a remote format where only MLB commissioner Rob Manfred and key operations personnel will be in Secaucus, while team executives will all make their picks from their respective markets. Despite those changes, MLB is still aiming for an entirely new level of prominence for the Draft that drove the original Omaha-based plan.

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