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State of the Screens

Baseball Without Fans Sounded Crazy. It Might Just Work.

By April 24, 2020No Comments

Big question: Will Major League Baseball be able to salvage its season even if it means playing in empty stadiums?

Quote from Dr. Anthony Fauci – Director @ the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases:
“There’s a way of doing that… Nobody comes to the stadium. Put them in big hotels wherever you want to play. Keep them very well surveilled and have them tested every week and make sure they don’t wind up infecting each other or their family and just let them play the season out.”

FYI: This is already happening in South Korea, and one league in China is using robot mannequins as a fill-in for fans…

What the 2020 MLB season could look like:
1) Late May or early June start
2) All games in the Phoenix area
3) No fans
4) Umpires w/ masks
5) Electronic strike zone to create a safe distance between umpires and players
6) Player temperature checks before entering the stadium
7) 7-inning doubleheaders
8) No mound visits

Key detail: The players have to approve any deal.

Reasons the players will push back:
1) 
Quarantine away from family
2) No fans

Reasons the players will accept:
1) 
Money
2) This may be the only way that any games get played in 2020

Player salaries if there is a season: The current agreement would pay them a pro-rated salary based on the number of games.  For example, the average player makes $4M/year and would receive $2M (50%) if 81 of the 162 (50%) game season is played.

Player salaries if there is no season: The ≈ 1,000 players would split a $170M pot.

Quick math on impact to player salaries of MLB season cancellation:
1) 
Projected 2020 payrolls – $3.9B
2) 
Salary/player – $3.9M
3) 
Payout with no season – $170M
4) 
Payout/player – $170K

The bottom line: The players could lose 96% of their income if there is no season under the current agreement.

Video #1: The financial impact of coronavirus on MLB teams

Video #2: Peter Hamby Interviews Dr. Anthony Fauci

Video #3: Talkin’ Baseball: Will There Be a 2020 Season?

More #1: A Season Without Baseball Could Be Crushing Blow for Minor Leagues

More #2: Rosenthal: MLB pondering games in empty spring parks, but many obstacles remain

Michael Beach

Michael Beach

Michael Beach is the Chief Executive Officer of Cross Screen Media, a media analytics and software company that enables marketers to plan, activate, and measure CTV and linear TV at the local level. Michael is also the founder and editor of State of the Screens, a weekly newsletter focused on video advertising that is a must-read for thought leaders in the advertising industry. He has appeared in such publications as PBS Frontline, The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, Axios, CNBC and Bloomberg, and on NPR’s Planet Money podcast.

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