Players concerned about MLB deals with gaming companies

Los Angeles — The president of the baseball players’ association is concerned about the increase in sports commercial agreements with sports betting companies.

A BetMGM Retail Sportsbook opened this year at Nationals Park in Washington, DC, and DraftKings is building a sportsbook slated to open next year at the southeast corner of Wrigley Field.

Union executive director Tony Clark was asked ahead of Tuesday’s All-Star Game if he was worried about gambling relationships, which have grown since the US Supreme Court ruled in 2018 to repeal the law on the protection of professional and amateur sports, which prohibited sports betting.

“Get? No. Is? Yeah. Was? Sure,” Clark told the Baseball Writers’ Association of America. “We are entering a very delicate and, dare I say, dangerous world here. We hope this is really beneficial for the future of our game and that everyone involved benefits. But when you have players who suggest that PASPA wasn’t repealed sooner, that they started having book houses following them on social media, that gets you a little nervous pretty quickly.

“And so we will continue to pound the pavement in each of the state legislatures that continue to press, that have language in place and those that don’t yet that are potentially online, to make sure that as much as any , our players are protected, and their families by extension, are protected due to the language that is in the books despite the fact that this train has left the station.

More: MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred Rejects Minor Leaguers Not Getting Living Wages

MLB moves forward with uniform ads for 2022

Major League Baseball is moving forward with uniform advertising plans next season.

The new employment contract agreed in March allows teams to add publicity patches on uniforms and helmets. The San Diego Padres in April became the first team to announce a 2023 deal with Motorola.

“I think jersey patch ads on jerseys are a fact of life in professional sports,” commissioner Rob Manfred told the Baseball Writers’ Association of America on Tuesday. “It’s a big enough source of revenue that it’s really impossible for the sport to ignore in the long run. I think that’s the truth.

Major League Soccer became the first major North American league to allow jersey advertisements in 2007.

Among other North American leagues, the NBA began selling sponsorship logos for the 2017-18 season. The NHL launched helmet ads for the 2020-21 season and began advertising on jerseys last season.

Manfred defended experiments with new uniform looks, such as players not wearing their regular-season jerseys at the All-Star Game last year.

Following a markedly new look in 2021 that included three-letter abbreviations of team names, this year’s game uniforms feature the script of regular-season jerseys, with gold lettering on a white background for the National League and a gray background for the American.

Nike took over as MLB’s uniform supplier in 2020 and last year added a series of City Connect uniforms that were markedly different, such as the Boston Red Sox wearing yellow and blue.

“A lot of kind unease, apprehension among certainly the more traditional people in the game. City Connect has been one of the big marketing successes of the game in recent years,” Manfred said.

“I think it’s important to experiment with things like that in order to make the game look a bit different. I never would have thought that a baseball team wearing different jerseys in a game was a particularly appealing look for us. I understand that people may have different views on this topic, but it’s part of a larger program designed to market the game in a non-traditional way,” he said.

Clark looks likely to stay on as head of the baseball union

Tony Clark also looks likely to stay on as head of the baseball players’ association.

“There’s a lot of work to do, and I’m more than determined to keep doing it,” the former All-Star first baseman told the Baseball Writers’ Association of America on Tuesday.

Now 50, Clark took over as union leader in late 2013 after the death of Michael Weiner. Clark led the union through labor negotiations in 2016 and through the March deal that followed a 99-day lockout. The new agreement expires in December 2026.

Bruce Meyer led the day-to-day negotiations at the latest talks and was promoted last week to deputy executive director to the senior director of collective bargaining and legal.

Major union decisions are made by a 38-man executive committee, which includes an eight-man executive sub-committee. Seven of the eight members of the sub-executive committee earned $12 million or more in 2021 and the other $3.5 million.

While the sub-executive committee voted 8-0 against approving the five-year contract, the team’s player representatives voted 26-4 in favor, leaving the overall ballot at 26-12 for ratification.

Clark said voices were being heard from the lowest paid members of the union.

“Veteran players were the ones who spoke the most about improving the system for younger players,” Clark said. “They recognize the changes that were happening in the game and they recognize because they’re in the clubhouse with the young players and they want to let them know they had their backs when they sat down to negotiate. .”

The agreement provided for an annual bonus pool of $50 million for players who were not yet eligible for arbitration.

Clark said the players were pushing for “recognition that younger players provide more value and need to realize more of that value”.

Neal T. Doss