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MLB To Lose Coca-Cola Sponsorship, Still In Battle With MLBPA

Major League Baseball (MLB) is reportedly set to lose Coca-Cola as an official sponsor after the soft drinks giant failed to renew its deal due to budgetary concerns, according to the Sports Business Journal (SBJ).

According to the SBJ, it is possible the title as official sponsor of MLB beverages will remain open this season due to the current state of the overall economy and the sports economy.

After already holding sponsorship deals with the majority of MLB teams, Coca-Cola took over from rival Pepsi as the official sponsor of MLB beverages in 2017.

This news comes amid the MLB’s ongoing struggles in reaching an agreement with the Major League Baseball Players Association (MLBPA) to restart the 2020 season.

In their latest proposal to the MLBPA, the MLB put forward a plan for a 76-game regular season that would see players earn up to 75 per cent of their prorated salaries, an increase on the initial proposal that had 50 games being played.

While players could earn up to 75 per cent of their prorated wages in this new proposal, only 50 per cent of that amount is guaranteed, with the deal seeing about $2 billion (AUD) paid out in total compensation to the players, up from the previously proposed sliding-scale model.

This figure is still much lower than the MLBPA’s latest counteroffer, which would see total salaries for the 2020 season reduced from about $5.75 billion (AUD) to about $4 billion (AUD).

The originally proposed sliding-scale model, which the MLBPA rejected, would have seen rookies and lower-paid players receive a greater percentage of their original salaries compared to higher-paid players.

The MLBPA has not yet officially responded to the new offer, which also includes ending the removal of draft picks for teams signing top free agents, the elimination of qualifying offers for free agent players, and the forgiveness of some of the $244 million (AUD) in salaries already advanced to players after the COVID-19 pandemic forced the suspension of the 2020 season.

In other MLB news, the New York Mets could reportedly be playing under a new ownership group, with Variety reporting the Harris Blitzer Sports & Entertainment company are in preliminary discussions with the franchise.

The Mets were close to being purchased by US billionaire Steve Cohen in February for a reported $3.73 billion (AUD) before the deal collapse due to differences in opinion over the role the current owners, the Wilpon family, would have following the purchase.