It was good news on Thursday morning, as MLS and the MLS Players Association announced they have reached a deal for a new Collective Bargaining Agreement. The agreement will run through the 2024 season and into the (projected) 2025 preseason.
There are several highlights of the new deal:
- Increased payroll spending: From $8,490,000 in 2019 to $11,643,000 in 2024, according to the release, giving teams more ability to stay competitive in the world market, in theory.
- TAM, GAM, thank you...TAM (targeted allocation money) looks like it’s being converted to GAM (general allocation money) but teams will still have the ability to get $1.2 million in discretionary funds if they like to spend on salaries and transfer fees.
- Revenue sharing: For the first time, players will get a cut of the revenues from media agreements made by the league, starting in 2023. A hallmark of CBAs for the NBA, for example, revenues for MLS are considerably smaller but indicate management willing to share in the proceeds from the employees who play the biggest role in the league.
- Minimum charter flights: In the past, teams could only use four charter flights per season, maximum, and players and a few coaches complained bitterly about having to fly commercially. Now, teams must use at least eight charter flights during the regular season and for all playoffs and international competitive games in 2020, going up to 16 charters in 2024.
- Expanded free agency: MLS has expanded free agency to players at least 24 years of age who have at least five years experience in the league.
- Raised minimum salary: The minimum salary for players on the senior roster will increase from $81,375 in 2020 (over a $10,000 increase) to $109,200 in 2024. On the supplemental roster, that increase to the minimum will be $63,547 in 2020 to $85,802 in 2024.
- Young(ish) DPs: Teams can still have three designated players, but teams are incentivized to have one DP be under 23, or else the third DP slot will be limited in salary if the player is older than 23.
- U-22 initiative: Teams will be able to sign up to three players under the age of 22 at a lower budget charge. It’s unclear at this point if this is for Homegrown players, young players who don’t count as Homegrowns, the super-young teens who have started signing in recent years so teams can have their player rights, or something else. TBD.
The big takeaway from a fan’s perspective? There won’t be a work stoppage, delaying the start of the 2020 season. Time will tell how this new CBA is received on all sides, but in the short term, there’s a deal with apparent real improvements, and there won’t be a strike or lockout. So that’s certainly good news.
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