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Major League Baseball’s revenue-sharing system between bigger-market and smaller-market teams will return in a modified form in 2021.
The Athletic reports that post-pandemic, smaller-market clubs will receive only half of the normal funds, with the other half coming in 2022.
“The league office is using a line of credit to front the money, on the expectation that the big-market teams that would normally be on the hook will eventually repay the league office,” the article states.
It isn’t exactly clear what expectation means.
One exec from a large-market team believes MLB’s loan is just for the sake of optics, while another said that it will be repaid.
Exact numbers involved in revenue-sharing aren’t made public, and the total teams’ pay or receive can differ significantly from year to year.
“Historically, revenue sharing has been a contentious issue between the clubs. With bargaining approaching during a time of strain on club finances, the potential for it to be a lightning-rod issue again looms,” the article states.
Although the Yankees were the sport’s top payor for a long time — contributing the most to the pool — the Dodgers have supplanted them in recent years as their revenues have grown, and the Yankees receive a large credit in the system because of their debt payments for their stadium.
But for 2019, the Athletic reports these teams have the highest revenue-sharing bills:
- Dodgers, about $90 million.
- Red Sox, slightly less than Los Angeles, paid $85 million in 2018.
- Cubs, roughly $70 million.
- Yankees, with over $60 million.
On the other end, the Marlins received around $70 million in 2019, and the Rays received somewhere in the $50 million to $60 million range each year from 2017 to 2019.
This year’s revenue sharing is using 2017, 2018 and 2019 revenues as its inputs, the Athletic reports.