The Lockout Is On But Will People Notice?

There is plenty of time to get the impasse settled.

Major League Baseball owners locked out the employees but that does not mean the business of baseball has come to a screeching halt. Why did the owners lockout the players? It is over money and how to split the economic pie. MLB does not have money problems. In the lead up to the lockout, MLB owners spent more than $1.7 billion signing players to long term deals. Distressed industries do not spend that kind of money on employees so it follows that Major League Baseball is not a financially depressed industry. MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred said the work stoppage was “bad for business”. But until there are spring training facilities closed and games are missed, only industry people will notice there is a lockout. The lockout is designed to gain leverage over the players and prevent the players from going on strike. The 2022 Major League Baseball season is scheduled to begin on March 31st. That means that nearly three months remain to get a deal done without impacting the upcoming season.

Meanwhile MLB owners are planning ahead for the future. Just a couple days before the lockout, the Dolan family-owned Cleveland Guardians business received a present from the Cleveland city council. The business is getting more than $200 million for upgrades at its 28-year-old stadium in exchange for a lease extension through 2036. John Fisher, the Oakland Athletics’ owner, has successfully got Las Vegas into a bidding war with Oakland with building a new stadium in either place being the prize. But that prize comes with Fisher attaching some strings such as taxpayers have to put up a significant amount of cash to help him build his new ballpark complete with money making gizmos. Tampa Bay Rays ownership wants a new park in the Tampa Bay market and Montreal for its sister city plan.

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