The rapid outbreak of coronavirus outbreak across the world hasn't spared the major sports leagues in the United States. The NBA and NHL are already suspended while MLB has been forced to shut down the spring training and postpone the Opening Day. With leagues bracing for a major financial hit, reports suggest MLB could cancel the 2020 amateur draft to minimise the loss.
Due to the outbreak, the MLB teams were directed to halt their scouting operations last week. With no amateur league games being played due to the outbreak, teams were already left with a less-than-ideal scenario heading into the business period.
Now if the reports in the United States are to be believed, MLB could skip the 2020 draft while also move the international signing period. The MLB draft was set to take place ahead of the College World Series in Omaha, Nebraska in June. The College World Series has now been cancelled due to the coronavirus outbreak in the US.
It is projected that MLB teams spend a reported $400 million in signing bonuses during the draft. Skipping the MLB 2020 Draft could help the league and the teams save a significant amount of sum as gate receipts could also plummet due to the outbreak.
Any such changes in the scheduled calendar will, however, need to be approved by the league owners and the MLB Players' Association (MLBPA).
Meanwhile, skipping the draft poses a major challenge for the eligible prospects at the 2020 draft. Several reports state that the eligible prospects could head back to school next summer without any penalty from the NCAA.
MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred made the announcement that the Opening Day has been pushed back from March 26 to mid-May at the earliest. Manfred came to the decision following a conference call with executives of the 30 teams.
MLB clubs have committed $30M -- $1M apiece -- to assist the ballpark employees affected by the delayed start to our season. pic.twitter.com/ZzJOkxGt2e— MLB (@MLB) March 17, 2020