As Les Nessman used to say, “Sometimes Less Means More”:MiLB reportedly ready to agree to Franchise Contraction

Posted by Andy Durham on April 21, 2020 at 10:51 pm under Professional | Comments are off for this article

from SportsBusiness.com and you can CLICK HERE to go there, and what they are talking about is reducing the number of Minor League teams that are playing professional baseball….

Reduce the number of Minor League franchises from 160 to 120 teams/franchises…

That would eliminate the entire Appalachian League, which fields teams in Burlington, N.C.(Burlington Royals), plus teams in Danville, Virginia(Danville Braves) and in Pulaski, Virginia(Pulaski Yankees)….The Pulaski Yankees were named the top franchise in all of Minor League baseball last season, and small town USA could see their Minor League Baseball teams going away…

The Appalachian League is a rookie short-season league and that seems to be a major approach of the MLB Contraction Plan/MLBCP…Wipe out the rookie leagues and make changes that in the end, will benefit Major League Baseball, and not benefit Minor League Baseball…

$$$$$$$$$$ MiLB and MLB are set to conduct a negotiating session on Wednesday April 22. $$$$$$$$$$

**********Here’s the plan from SportsBusiness.com:**********
MiLB reportedly ready to agree to franchise contraction

Minor League Baseball is preparing to accept a 25 per cent reduction in its number of franchises, something it has spent months stridently opposing, according to multiple reports.

The affiliated minors for more than six months have aggressively fought a dramatic overhaul plan proposed by Major League Baseball as part of ongoing Professional Baseball Agreement (PBA) negotiations that was led by a proposed cut in the number of teams from 160 to 120.

Over the winter, those MLB-MiLB negotiations became particularly acrimonious, and even involved multiple levels of government, including the US Congress.

But as all play has continued to be halted due to the Covid-19 pandemic, MiLB teams that are heavily dependent on gate revenue for economic survival now face unprecedented levels of financial stress. The affiliated minors do not enjoy the fruits of a massive media rights contract, and is still in the early stages of building a large-scale national sponsorship business.

Even if US pro sports begins to come back this summer, it likely will be without fans, at least at the outset. And given its particular fiscal reliance on ticket sales, MiLB has signaled it not relishing the notion of playing games in empty ballparks. As a result, there is now a growing possibility there will not be a 2020 MiLB season at all.

Those factors have reportedly created an entirely new dynamic to the negotiations in which MiLB is now said to be open to the historic cutdown in franchises.

That, in turn, could open up an entirely new future model for minor league player development and franchise management in which MLB parent clubs would have greater control over the operation their minor league affiliates, operate through a new system for how affiliate clubs are chosen, work through a new MiLB realignment plan that would reduce travel burdens, and perhaps even have greater oversight of MiLB central operations through MLB headquarters in New York.

MiLB and MLB are set to conduct a negotiating session on Wednesday April 22, and MiLB is now pushing back on the reports it will agree to the franchise contraction plan.

“Recent articles on the negotiations between MiLB and Major League Baseball are largely inaccurate,” MiLB said in a statement. “There have been no agreements on contraction or any other issues. MiLB looks forward to continuing the good faith negotiations with MLB [Wednesday] as we work toward an agreement that best ensures the future of professional baseball throughout the United States and Canada.”


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