The soccer new starts with The Washington Post's Steven Goff confirming reports that Major League Soccer is considering restarting the 2020 season in Orlando. Earlier versions had the league considering a tournament with all of its clubs using the ESPN Wide World of Sports complex at Disney World. The latest is for league games with all teams and personnel housed at one of the resorts in the Orlando area.
Reports have also linked the NBA, NHL, and Major League Baseball with using one or more sites to get the games in. That saves the leagues the risk of travel and staggered reopenings across the country. MMA staged an event in Jacksonville over the weekend without an audience. WWE is using its training facility in Orlando to stage its events. There is no expectation that any sport will have live audiences, offering the option of using alternative venues without having to consider attendance.
That seems to be the scenario for MLS in Orlando, using multiple fields at the facility to stage games. With all of these attempts at restarting North American professional sports, player safety is the primary issue. So is the separation from families that this type of plan requires. Major League Baseball reportedly considered moving all of its teams to Arizona spring training facilities to start the regular season, but now seems to favor using its regular stadiums.
On Monday, baseball proposed a shortened season beginning in July with a regionalized schedule. That would require union approval, where the proposed revenue split of 50/50 for this season is not getting a welcome reception in a league without a salary cap. Money is also at issue in MLS, with ESPN's Jeff Carlisle and Noah Davis reporting that the league is asking the Players Association for an across the board 20% pay cut. Add to that the player safety issues and the need for a considerable amount of testing and it's not a straight line between proposal and playing games that count.
As was the case with the various proposals to cut player pay in the Premier League, there are at least two major issues here. The first is what the players receive in return for giving up money. Like Premier League players, MLS players have no direct stake in the business. They're giving up real dollars with no mechanism for recouping them. They also have a limited career, while investor/operators have plenty of time to recoup any losses. Things returning to better than normal in a few years would be good for owners, but it's not the same scenario for players that gave up part of their salaries and lost a chunk of their career in 2020. It's worth noting whether or not any proposal from leagues covers that reality.
Without that piece, the leagues aren't acting as partners. They're responding as disrupted businesses that treat players as a necessity to resuming production but not much else. Getting past that perception by including players in the business of a restart would require a fundamental change in approach. That's far less likely than a league and its owners figuring out a way to get the games going.
The DFL's hygiene concept includes a ban on mascots in stadiums.— DW Sports (@dw_sports) May 12, 2020
That means Cologne's goat, Hennes IX, will not be allowed to attend Cologne vs. Mainz this weekend.
This will be Cologne's first game without their goat since 2008. pic.twitter.com/sTYG6zAROu
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