The owners’ latest 2020 MLB season proposal includes selling advertising space on player uniforms.
The fraught, teeth-gnashing negotiations over the start of the 2020 MLB season have been a bridge to nowhere almost entirely due to standoffs between owners and players over the length of the regular season and adjustments to player pay. If the MLBPA ends up taking umbrage with the league’s most recently proposed blueprint, however, it may have slightly more to do with both of those burning questions.
As former MLB third baseman Trevor Plouffe points out, the league has included the right to sell ad sponsorships on player uniforms for 2020 and 2021.
MLB’s Wednesday proposal to players for starting the 2020 season includes the right to sell advertisements on every team’s uniform in both ’20 and ’21.
Does this stand to be a dealbreaker that would scuttle an otherwise acceptable deal in the eyes of the players? No, that’s not conceivable. But it does change the game of baseball in a very real way, a game whose strength is the fact that so many of its fundamental components have barely changed over the last 100 years.
You can bet that more than a few fans would have to be dragged into that cash-grabby reality kicking and screaming.
All told, selling jersey sponsorships ought to be far less controversial than robot umpires or anything remotely related to instant replay, but never underestimate baseball fans when it comes to dying on the hill of a very specific flavor of traditionalism harkening back to gleefully misremembered “good old days.”
After all, nobody in sports stands even the slightest chance of matching their revenue numbers from 2019. Slapping a logo on a jersey — much like the NBA does, far less invasively than professional soccer kit sponsors — is a quick way to recoup some of that lost guap.
Nobody should be weeping for a sports team owner complaining about profits; in a perfect world, every owner would be so inhumanly, insanely rich that they could lose money every single year and it wouldn’t matter a lick. Until then, baseball has to get creative — and there are worse ideas out there than this one.