There’s one thing standing in the way of a baseball season in 2020, and it isn’t coronavirus; it’s money. In a shortened season where fans will not be in the stands for most, if not all, of the games, players and owners are jockeying to see who gets screwed over the least. Players want the original pro-rated salaries the sides originally agreed to in March, but owners now want even more because they said they stand to lose more money without fans spending money on tickets, parking, and concessions.
At the end of the day, both sides will likely have to make sacrifices. But you simply can’t convince me there isn’t enough money in playing baseball in 2020. The league may just have to be creative about finding it.
If baseball is the first sport back, there will be more eyes on it than ever. The Last Dance was awesome, but the fact that people were glued to their TVs for a documentary as if it was the Super Bowl is telling enough. People are starved for live sports. Give people MLB games on 4th of July weekend and I promise you everyone will be watching, even hardos who spend their time talking about how boring it is .
Whether they’re diehards watching their favorite team, casual fans looking for an excuse to watch something while they drink with their friends, or hardcore gamblers throwing their kid’s college fund on “no runs in the 1st inning,” baseball will have a bigger audience than ever. With a bigger audience, comes more advertising revenue. This can help bridge the gap between what the players are looking to get paid, and what the owners are looking to pay them. And the first place the MLB should look for more ad revenue is the jerseys.
Like I said in my tweet, I’m sure people will hate this because they acted as if the league was putting the North Korean flag on the front of jerseys when they added the Nike swoosh. But we’ve already seen them put ads on batting helmets and the sleeves of jerseys for international games before. Why not put them into play for 2020? The NBA has ads on the front of jerseys, I’m sure there has to be a lot of money in the same for MLB. Do I love the look? Absolutely not. But if it brings in money, it would be a step towards getting baseball back.
If they get creative, there’s plenty of other places the league can look to bring in some more ad dollars. With no fans in the stands, then put a few tarps up to cover the seats and slap an advertiser’s logo on there. Have a company’s jingle played after every home run, like how the Yankees play the “PC Richard & Son” whistle after every strikeout at the Stadium. Put each game’s presenting sponsors’ logos on the scorebug for the duration of the game. And we’re just getting started. You wanna get nuts?
Have relievers driven from the bullpen in the new Toyota. Host a third inning case race sponsored by Bud Light where neither team can take the field until the dugout has finished an entire 30-rack. Have “Taco Tuesdays” where players are served Taco Bell in the middle of the game. Those games will also double as “Toilet Paper Tuesdays” sponsored by Charmin because everyone will inevitably shit themselves. Don’t ask me about the logistics of all this, I’m just the ideas guy.
Obviously I’m messing around with those last few ideas, but my point still stands. A ton of people will watch baseball when it comes back, and advertisers will want to be involved. If MLB thinks outside the box a little bit (or outside the bun?),
then they could really start to close the money gap that currently stands between the owners and the players. So whether it’s forcing Mike Trout to Instagram Live himself drinking a Gatorade after the Angels’ 11-10 loss to the A’s, or Christian Yelich posting a roll of Charmin on his Twitter because he ate five tacos, the money is there. The league just has to go out and get it.