Owners approve MLB season proposal plan for July start as players’ union preps to weigh in play

The ability to strike a financial deal could mean the difference between a baseball season and one that is canceled.

ESPN

Major League Baseball owners approved a proposal that commissioner Rob Manfred plans to present to players Tuesday on a return-to-play scenario that aims to have baseball back in home stadiums by early July, sources familiar with the situation told ESPN.

The meeting between MLB and the MLB Players Association on Tuesday will set the stage for what both parties expect to be a contentious negotiation. While MLB could benefit long term from being the first American team sport to return amid the coronavirus pandemic, the logistics of starting the season remain convoluted and require player support.

Money is at the heart of the return, sources said. Owners, fearful of deep financial losses with fan-free stadiums, agreed in a conference call Monday afternoon to a plan that includes a 50-50 revenue split with the players, sources told ESPN.

Because MLB is the lone uncapped team sport in the United States, never has a straight revenue split been part of the game’s finances. The MLBPA is almost certain to reject that element of the proposal and counter that a March agreement between the parties guaranteed players a prorated portion of their salaries depending on the number of games played. The ability to strike a financial deal could mean the difference between a baseball season and one that is canceled.

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