SCOTTSDALE, AZ — Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred says Spring Training remains on hold because of a management lockout and his goal is to reach a labor contract that allows opening day as scheduled on March 31.
With the second-longest work stoppage in baseball history stretching into its 71st day, Manfred said teams will make a new offer when negotiations resume Saturday for just the fifth economic bargaining session since the five-year labor contract expired.
Spring Training workouts had been scheduled to start on Feb. 16, and missing out on games will have a huge economic impact on the Valley.
A 2018 economic report found Spring Training typically brings in about $644 million in a normal season, according to Cactus League Executive Director Bridget Binsbacher.
In 2020, however, that number went down nearly in half to about $363 million when the onset of the pandemic brought the games to a screeching halt.
Last year, the pandemic still forced limited capacity on stadiums, limiting revenue potential yet again.
Manfred says whenever the lockout is resolved, he's still hoping for 21-28 days of spring camps, but it's unclear exactly how many games would be played before the MLB season actually begins. He says he is optimistic that the regular MLB season will begin on time.
“I am an optimist and I believe we will have an agreement in time to play our regular schedule,” Manfred said during a news conference Thursday after three days of meetings. “I see missing games as a disastrous outcome for this industry, and we’re committed to making an agreement in an effort to avoid that.”