By Evan Weiner |
The 25-year era of good feeling between Major League Baseball owners and MLB players is over. Despite a global pandemic that has taken the lives of more than 117,000 people in America and 8,000 more in Canada from COVID-19. Despite an economic downturn in the United States and Canada and protests in American streets, the two sides could not publicly play nice and fought over money. But AT &T, as everything was going on, through its Turner Sports division made a bet that Major League Baseball will recover and has made a long-term commitment to the industry and will invest about a billion dollars by extending its cable television rights to MLB games contract. AT &T better hope that the economic downturn and the American recession does not lead to people cutting their cable TV cord.
Major League Baseball owners were on a cost cutting mission prior to the outbreak of COVID-19. Following the 2019 season, MLB owners came up with a plan to take more control of Minor League Baseball and that scheme included eliminating 42 minor league franchises. That drew the wrath of some members of Congress along with local elected officials. There still has not been a resolution to the Minor League Baseball plan. The Major League Baseball owners and players collective bargaining agreement is up following the 2021 season. Major League Baseball owners seem to be on a mission to cut as many expenses they can in the industry. Now they think they may be able to really play hardball because of the pandemic and revenue losses because they cannot sell tickets to any games in the near future. The industry though has enormous television revenues. MLB owners have to be careful with consumers. The game does not appeal to a large number of younger people and economic fights won’t broaden interest.