Ever since 2020 (and, in some cases, probably sooner), MLB fans have been hearing about the league wanting to expand the playoffs.
We saw it in 2020, the pandemic season: eight teams per league made the postseason that year.
Of course, doing so would result in more playoff games and more money for the league: more ticket sales, merchandising, and TV viewership with everything that comes with it.
Players Are Using Expanded Playoffs As A Bargaining Chip
However, players don’t love the idea for one simple reason: they don’t get paid during the playoffs, or at least not their salary.
Here is a paragraph from Investopedia explaining the situation:
“According to the MLB Players’ Association, the league pays out playoff bonuses based on a percentage of revenue generated throughout the playoff year: ‘The Players’ pool is created from 60% of the total gate receipts from the first four World Series games; 60% of the total gate receipts from the first four games of each League Championship Series; and 60% of the total gate receipts from the first three games of each Division Series. The pool is distributed as follows: World Series Winning Team: 36%; World Series Loser: 24%; League Championship Series Losers (two teams): 12% each; Division Series losers (four teams): 3% each; Non-wild Card second-place teams (four teams): 1% each.”
Ben Nicholson-Smith of Sportsnet is reporting that the MLBPA told the league to forget about expanded playoffs if there isn’t a full season in 2022.
Last thing: Heard MLBPA has told MLB not to expect expanded playoffs in 2022 if players miss the chance to play a full 162 and be compensated for the full season.
— Ben Nicholson-Smith (@bnicholsonsmith) February 18, 2022
“Last thing: Heard MLBPA has told MLB not to expect expanded playoffs in 2022 if players miss the chance to play a full 162 and be compensated for the full season,” he wrote.
It’s a pressure move for the players to owners, and it could theoretically accelerate negotiations.
Like it happened in 2020, players want to complete as many games as possible, with 162 being their goal: the more they play, the more they get paid.
It remains to be seen if playing 162 games will be possible, and if expanded playoffs will be a part of the new collective bargaining agreement (CBA).