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Anchor Drop, June 8, 2020: 89 Days to Kickoff

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Good morning. Will MLB get out of its own way in time to save baseball season?

Tennessee v Vanderbilt Photo by Frederick Breedon/Getty Images

Good morning.

We’re down to 89 days away from Vanderbilt’s scheduled season opener against Mercer. There isn’t currently a #89 on the roster (with the caveat, again, that freshmen haven’t been assigned jersey numbers yet.) Last year’s 89, Braden Kopp, appears to have moved on.

Optional Musical Accompaniment

At the Hustler, Blair McDonald writes that black lives should matter on and off the field.

And at CBS, another profile on Austin Martin, who’s apparently the #1 prospect in the draft (which is on Wednesday.)

Updated: When are sports coming back?

Well, the NBA has already announced its plans, and the NHL seems to have something in the works, and the PGA Tour actually returns this week. So that leaves baseball and... well, it’s still not good.

There are a couple of relevant points here. For one thing, MLBPA — unlike other players’ associations — has never agreed to a set percentage of revenues, so there’s no mechanism by which owners could cut salaries based on a drop in revenue. And for another thing, and this is the real hangup here, MLB more than other leagues depends on attendance for revenue. It’s still not the biggest driver of revenue — that’s TV — but it’s probably a bigger portion of revenue than any other professional or college league. In 2018, MLB saw a paid attendance of a little over 69 million; the NFL, by contrast, saw a little over 17 million in 2019; and MLB’s national TV contract is relatively small with most of the TV money coming through individual teams’ local deals.

In other words, revenues are going to take a big hit in a world where there are no fans in attendance and even if fans were allowed to attend, (a) they might have half as many games and (b) there’s no guarantee that many fans would actually attend games in the current environment.

Either way, this blows. I care way more about MLB than I do about the NBA.

Actual Sports on TV

Apparently none? Ah, fuck it, go find a replay of the Deportivo Saprissa match.