The industry has problems to solve.
The Major League Baseball season starts later this week and there are many questions surrounding the business of baseball. Number one on that list is whether the players and owners can find some common ground and reach a new collective bargaining agreement sometime during the next six months. Number two on that list is whether the Oakland A’s ownership can strike a deal with the city of Oakland and build a baseball park around the Howard Terminal, waterfront area in the city. Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, Athletics’ ownership was targeting the 2023 season as the time the stadium would be opened. There have been lawsuits and the pandemic has slowed the stadium building process. Number three is the future of the Tampa Bay Rays in the Tampa-St. Petersburg market. Rays’ ownership has spent years looking for a solution to its stadium problem. The St. Petersburg building is not the 21st century state of the art stadium that can generate all sorts of revenue. The Rays’ ownership has a lease with the city until 2027 to use the facility. Major League Baseball would have no problem splitting Rays’ home games between St. Petersburg or Tampa with Montreal although there are many hurdles to that solution. The players association would have to agree to having players playing in the Tampa Bay area in the early part of the season and spending summers in Montreal. There is also the problem of not having a suitable baseball stadium in Montreal.
It appears expansion to 32 franchises is off the table at the moment and there are a number of reasons for that starting with the lack of a collective bargaining agreement after the season. The players would have to agree to an expansion. COVID-19 has not magically disappeared either and that could impact the season.
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