The union had rejected the offer Monday after which the owners adopted the measure, giving the players until late Tuesday to accept health and safety protocols to play as the coronavirus continues to spread around North America.
In the agreement, players must pass a coronavirus test and report to spring training camps by July 1.
The framework for the agreement stemmed out of a meeting last week between baseball commissioner Rob Manfred and MLBPA executive director Tony Clark at Clark’s home in the Phoenix area.
MLB proposed a 60-game season with full pro rata pay and no fans in the stands after the players moved to play a 70-game slate. When MLB stood fast at 60 games, the union’s executive council voted overwhelmingly to reject it on Monday.
The union had previously directed the owners to tell them when and where to begin playing. MLB used a March 26 agreement between the players and the union in which the owners judged they could implement the length of the season as long as players receive a full salary,
pro-rated for number of games played.
The players may ultimately test that assumption through the grievance process.
MLB conceded that the players have to agree to a full slate of health and safety issues, “in order to produce a schedule with a specific number of games.”
Under the revised proposal, the season would conclude in late September with a regular 10-team playoff format in October, provided public health conditions make continued play possible.
MLB has already closed training facilities in Florida and Arizona due to COVID-19 spikes and numerous MLB players and staff have tested positive for the disease even though players have worked out in only small groups.
By playing games this year, the owners will make most of their $1.7 billion total average annual national television money if they can get to a postseason in October, though some medical professionals are predicting another surge of COVID-19 cases this fall.
Without fans in the stands, MLB is losing billions in sales from tickets, sponsorships, advertising, suites, concessions and merchandise. The only other source of revenue for teams comes from local television and radio, which totals $2.1 billion for the 30 franchises. To get
that figure, each team would have to play 120 games. A season of 60 games would then provide about $1.05 billion for the owners.
With 121,119 deaths in the country and some models now predicting 200,000 by October, it remains to be seen whether the virus will allow baseball to play any games.
Barry M. Bloom is a reporter for Sportico, Penske Media’s new sports business platform.