The sports world is bound to make a comeback sooner than later. The NBA will be playing the rest of its tournament in Orlando, the NHL has announced they’ll be coming back and some sports have already held events, like the UFC and NASCAR. If MLB can solve its economic dispute, baseball would be back by July.
The NFL, of course, is in a very different situation. With the start of the regular season months away, the league is aiming to get teams in their facilities around June 15 to finish the virtual offseason. If they manage to hold training camps in July, things will be relatively normal in the league’s calendar.
Up until now, there hasn’t been much discussion regarding the sport’s economics but it’ll become an important topic soon. Teams have already voted on increasing their debt limits, but little has been said about the league’s salary cap and how players will be impacted.
With a new CBA and a salary cap system, you know the NFL’s economics won’t be as troubled as those of Major League Baseball, but there are still a few things to be learned from baseball’s intense dispute.
If you’re not aware of what’s been going on with baseball lately, I’ll catch you up with a brief description of things:
- In March, the MLBPA and MLB agreed to pay prorated salaries. However, both parties don’t even agree on what they agreed.
- Weeks later, media reports suggested team owners were to propose a 50-50 revenue split between them and the players. This received a lot of backlash because there’s no salary cap in baseball, so suggesting that proposal would technically mean suggesting a salary cap structure.
- Earlier this week, owners proposed going with the prorated salaries with an additional pay cut on top. Depending on how much a player earns, he’d receive a pay cut of a certain percentage. The higher the salary, the higher the pay cut.
- This was an outrageous proposal. Mike Trout, who would have earned approximately $37M in 2020 would be set to earn close to one-third of his salary.
The truth is, sadly, that the pandemic isn’t the main problem in baseball’s road to return. It is money. There’s a real possibility we won’t see a 2020 MLB season just because they can’t get the economics part right.
For the NFL, it’s time to take notes and realize they can’t afford to have similar economic issues keep them from playing a season without any hiccups. While it doesn’t seem much of a problem for 2020, it could become one in 2021.
The reason the salary cap increases every year is that the league’s revenues increase every year. If no fans (or a limited amount) can attend games this season, the cap would have to decrease unless an extraordinary deal is agreed on.
Otherwise, what would happen to the team’s salary caps? What would happen to free agency? Surely, the NFL and NFLPA will have to sit down to try to stop the situation from ruining football. Not having football doesn’t look like a possibility right now, but the league and the union need to prevent every possible problem that could arise.
If the salary cap is impacted in such a negative way next year, they likely will choose to adjust it. It won’t be easy for front offices to agree without flinching considering their revenues would take an important hit if games are played in empty stadiums.
Hopefully, they’re thinking about it already and working toward avoiding a similar path than Major League Baseball in which money is stopping progress.