Sunday, April 19, 2020

New Youth Structure, MLS to Cut Salaries

Last week brought out big news in MLS's little corner of the globe. Both items will have lasting impact on what the league looks like down the road.

1. USSF shut down its Development Academy program - all at once. MLS swooped in and announced that they would be picking up the slack and seemingly just slap their name on most of the teams USSF is no longer funding.

This is a surprising move because the next day...

2. MLS is exploring plans to cut player salaries more than 50%" in total. MLS Players Association figures tell us that the league spent about $290 million on player wages last year. Now, MLS's (reported) proposal to their Union is a little creative in that they want to cut everyone making over $100k by half (and not let anyone making over $100k dip below that). Quick math tells us that the new MLS wage bill would be $156 million.

During a 34 game season that is about $4.6m a week vs $8.5m. At this point, even with the best scenarios, MLS will not be playing a full schedule but they offered an olive branch the union by saying they will not cut down further even if the season is canceled.

I am skeptical on that last part, but it is possible because MLS has to somehow retain players through till next season (8 months) to avoid completely rebooting rosters.


Don Garber is still once of the only commissioners holding on to expected re-start dates. I've stopped tracking it, but I think it's now sometime in June. I'm not sure if that is wishful thinking or what. Large gatherings of more than 20 will probably not be in place by then, let alone enough to squeeze in full team training sessions. Playing games?! Even in empty stadiums? That's a pipe dream until late summer.


The only hope the team sports world has of getting anything going is if the governors decide that sports are an essential business and EVEN THEN it will likely follow a pecking order that allows the NFL and MLB to get going.

There simply aren't enough healthcare resources to fire up all sports all at once. Even if there were, can you imagine the optics of sports teams testing thousands a weekend? The entire state of Ohio is only able to test 2,600 people a day. That's likely how much a few NFL games on a Sunday would take.

So, here is my updated 2020 sports projection:

- Fall college sports? Cooked!
- Golf... not cooked.
- MLB? Will probably schedule a few games.
- NHL, NBA, WNBA - Cooked till fall at best.
- Bowling? Not cooked.
- NFL... will likely get to play somehow.

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