MLB seeks to return Athletics to revenue-sharing beneficiary status

Athletics was singled out in a somewhat unique way in the last collective agreement, as its status as a revenue-sharing beneficiary was phased out over the five-year deal. Under the terms of the now-expired 2016-21 ABC, the normal intake of Athletics revenue-sharing funds fell to 75% in 2017, 50% in 2018, 25% in 2019, then nothing for the last two ABC years.

As negotiations over the new CBA continue (slowly) between owners and players, the league is now looking to reinstall the A’s as the beneficiary of revenue sharing, MLB Trade Rumors’ Tim Dierkes reports (by Twitter). This appears to be one of the few areas of common ground between the two sides, as the MLBPA is “ready to “restore the former status of athletics.

It remains to be seen exactly how baseball’s revenue-sharing system might be changed in the upcoming CBA, although given owners’ reluctance to discuss any revenue-sharing changes with the union, the changes made could be quite minors. It could be that Oakland’s return to the recipients category is the biggest step forward in this area, as the A’s will now earn tens of millions more dollars each year.

Under the last collective agreement, 48% of each team’s local revenue was placed in a pool and then divided equally among the 30 teams. Since some teams’ local revenues are understandably much larger than others, this has provided a boon for smaller market clubs. While the exact numbers aren’t known, MLB.com’s Jane Lee wrote in December 2016 that the A’s received over $30 million in revenue-sharing funds in 2016.

This will have a wider impact on the other 29 teams, as revenue share teams will now pay a slightly larger share of this revenue pot, with Athletics now removed from the sharers list. Likewise, teams receiving funds will now also get a slightly lower slice of the pie, with the A’s joining the party. There was also the concept of the revenue share discount for teams in large markets in the last CBA (as explained by Alex Speier of the Boston Globe) although it’s unclear if a similar mechanism might be in place for the next deal.

The seemingly never-ending saga of the Athletics quest for a new ballpark was the reason for their initial inclusion on the revenue-sharing roster, and now the reason for their return. Despite the lack of revenue generated by the Coliseum, the A’s aren’t exactly playing in a “small market”, given the size of Oakland and the Bay Area market in general. As such, the decision has been made to phase the team out of the revenue sharing group, even though more than five years have passed, athletics are still not very close to landing this new one. much-desired stage.

Amid much speculation about a potential move to Las Vegas, there has recently been more positive momentum towards a new ballpark in Oakland. The franchise’s longstanding concept of a new stadium in the Howard Terminal area recently received a vote of confidence from the Oakland City Council, which certified an environmental impact study on the project.

There are still more logistical hurdles to jump through, however, and between those potential hurdles and the time it takes to actually build the ballpark and adjacent infrastructure, it’s entirely possible that the A’s won’t get their new stadium in place before the end of a hypothetical 2022-26 term of the next ABC. More will be known about the fate of athletics (whether in Oakland, Las Vegas or elsewhere) in the coming years, so by the time the next ABC talks unfold, it looks like the A’s will be at again withdrawn from income. -share the recipient category if a new stadium project is actually underway.

In the meantime, the A’s will reap the benefits of additional income. For Oakland fans wondering if this means the team will spend these new funds on player payrolls, it’s worth remembering that the Athletics weren’t a big spender back when they were receiving money for revenue sharing, so a sudden spending spree is probably not likely. Given that the A’s wouldn’t get any new funds until the end of the 2022 season anyway, that won’t do much to prevent speculation that the A’s will be looking to cut payrolls and move at least some of their highest earning players once. the lockout is over.

From the perspective of the MLBPA, almost exactly four years ago today, the union filed a grievance against the Athletics, Rays, Pirates and Marlins over how the teams were allocating money raised through revenue sharing, as receiving these funds was not reflected in any increase in player payrolls. To that end, it might seem odd that the union is fine with the A’s rejoining the revenue-sharing slate, though speculatively there could be a larger tactic at play. any negotiation on revenue-sharing practices is not a starting point in the CBA talks, as much as the athletics situation itself counts as a notable change in the revenue-sharing plan, as the MLBPA might perceive it as a crack in the stone wall of homeowners on the subject.

Beyond the extra money, the A’s may also benefit in another way of being a beneficiary of revenue sharing, depending on how the new CBA treats free agent compensation. Under the latest deal, revenue-sharing recipients could land a compensatory draft pick directly after the first round if they had a free agent who rejected a qualifying offer and signed with another club for more than $50 million. . While teams that lost some free agents would still be eligible for a compensatory league pick new proposition, it remains to be seen exactly what the criteria for this compensation would be, or whether the revenue-sharing teams would be in line for greater project reward.

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