Late yesterday, MLB released info on the postseason shares for 2011 that details money distributed to the players as part of the collective bargaining process. It’s not chump change. The 2011 players’ pool was $57,299,244.23. As negotiated, The players’ pool, formed from 60 percent of the gate receipts from the first three games of the Division Series and 60 percent of the gate receipts from the first four games of the League Championship series and the World Series, and is divided among 12 clubs: the World Series participants, the League Championship Series and Division Series runners-up, and the four regular season second-place clubs that were not Wild Card participants.
But, that’s about to change.
While MLB and the MLBPA announced a new labor deal last week, not all the nuts and bolts are completed. What was announced on Tuesday was a memorandum of understanding, not the completed CBA.
Back to the postseason shares, there’s a new wrinkle. Beginning no later than the 2013 postseason, postseason play will be expanded for the first time since 1995. A second Wild Card will be awarded to the club in each league with the second-best overall record among clubs that do not win a division. The two Wild Card clubs will play a single Postseason game, the winner of which will advance to the Division Series. A decision on adding two Wild Cards for 2012 will be made no later than March 1, 2012.
What that means is there will now be more postseason teams, and hence the need for addressing the postseason shares.
It’s possible to have a scenario where the two new Wild Cards will be rolled in. The difference with the additions is that they play a single sudden death game, something different than before where the players got a percentage of the gate receipts based on the minimum number of games in a given series.
Another scenario could be that the four regular season second-place clubs that were not Wild Card participants could be left out of postseason shares. After all, one has to scratch their head when you’re paying clubs for making the postseason when they, well…. haven’t made the postseason.
Asked yesterday, a league official would only say that the postseason shares aspect with the additional Wild Card would be “addressed”.
That makes sense. While a labor deal has been reached in principle, the details are still being hammered out and has yet to be ratified by the parties. There’s a lot more to come.
Maury Brown is the Founder and President of the Business of Sports Network, which includes The Biz of Baseball, The Biz of Football, The Biz of Basketball and The Biz of Hockey, and is a contributor to Forbes SportsMoney blog.. He is available as a freelance writer. Brown's full bio is here. He looks forward to your comments via email and can be contacted through the Business of Sports Network (select his name in the dropdown provided).
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