MLS takes a financial hit due to COVID-19MLS, much like other professional sports leagues, would take a significant financial hit as a result of the virus. An estimate of $1 billion was given in relation to financial losses this year, according to commissioner Don Garber. Prior to season play suspension on March 12, MLS teams had only played two games. Over the summer, the league would stage a tournament inside a bubble in Florida. However, due to positive COVID-19 tests, two teams were unable to participate. Those teams were FC Dallas and Nashville SC.
MLS, MLSPA agree to CBA extension in June to resume some form of league playA June agreement with the league Players Association would make the tournament possible. It came as a result of tense talks leading some players to skip voluntary workouts. There also was the potential of a threatened lockout. A revision of the collective bargaining agreement, now good through 2025, would reflect some reforms. Players would ratify a deal that would include across-the-board pay cuts and a reduction in bonuses. MLS would revise a clause with ties to attendance, which is difficult when local, state, and Federal guidelines currently prohibit it. This same clause allows the league to alter contractual obligations due to extraordinary circumstances. The COVID-19 pandemic would be one of those circumstances. An individual with knowledge of the situation would state the league is filing a notice with the Player’s Association preserving the right to invoke the clause. However, the league currently has no intention to do so at this time. The anonymous insider would state the move was not made public.
MLS expansion draft next month for Austin FC, three expansion franchises experience delaysMLS is holding their expansion draft on December 15 for Austin FC, which starts league matchplay next season. Charlotte’s expansion team was to debut in 2021, but the pandemic would delay things for another year to 2022. The same is also true for expansion teams in St. Louis and Chicago, which were to make debuts in 2022. They will debut instead in 2023.
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Jake Leonard, a broadcast media and journalism veteran, is the editor-in-chief of Heartland Newsfeed. Leonard is also GM and program director of Heartland Newsfeed Radio Network, wrestling editor and contributing writer for Ambush Sports, a contributing writer for My Sports Vote and Midwest Sports Network, and a former contributor to Bleacher Report and Overtime Heroics. He resides at home in Nokomis, Ill. with his dog Buster.