Breaking News — The wait is over for the MLS and MLS Players Association. The two sides came to an agreement on a five-year collective bargaining agreement on Thursday, the league announced. For the most part, MLS players got the provisions that they were fighting for, including players sharing in media revenue.
MLS is entering its 25th season of competition. Right now, the deal is pending formal approval by the MLS Board of Governors and the MLSPA membership. The term of the CBA will run through Feb. 1, 2020, until Jan. 31, 2025.
Don Garber, MLS commissioner, said the CBA addresses key strategic priorities for MLS and the players within the league.
“We had constructive, positive discussions with the leadership of the MLSPA and the players’ bargaining committee during the negotiations over the last few months and I would like to thank them for their collaboration in concluding an agreement that will serve as the foundation for a new era of partnership with our players,” Garber said in a press release.
Members of the MLS Players Association Executive Board include Scott Caldwell, Ethan Finlay, Clint Irwin, Jeff Larentowicz, Eric Miller, Patrick Mullins and Luis Robles.
— MLSPA (@MLSPA) February 6, 2020
What’s included in the MLS CBA?
- Increased investment in player spending: This means that MLS will increase investment in areas like the salary budget, General Allocation Money (GAM) and performance bonuses for players. Also, club spending has been raised from $8,490,000 in 2019 to $11,643,000 in 2024. Minimum salaries for senior roster players will increase each season to $109,200 in 2024. Players will also see an increase in 401K contributions.
- Greater salary budget flexibility: Previously, teams received an extra $1.2 million in Targeted Allocation Money (TAM), according to the league. Now, that money is being shifted to GAM and “may be used across the entire roster.”
- Players earn media revenue: This won’t start until 2023 and 2024, but the MLS will increase player spending “by an amount equal to 25 percent of the increased media revenue above the amount generated by the league in 2022, plus $100 million.” Why the late start? The league is currently in a media rights partnership until 2022.
Major focus on Player-First
- Charter flights: Charter flight travel will increase throughout the CBA deal. In 2020, teams must use a charter flight for eight traveling matches. However, this will expand to 16 legs of travel by 2024. Also, should clubs make the playoffs, they will be required to use charter flights. The same goes for Concacaf Champions League, too.
- Designated Players: Three Designated Players can be signed under the new CBA. “The league will have the right to limit the compensation for the third Designated Player to the maximum TAM Salary, unless the player is 23… or younger, in which case there will be no limit,” the release notes.
- U-22: Starting in 2021, MLS clubs will be allowed to sign up to three players under 22-years-old “on a reduced charge to a club’s salary budget.” MLS announced that more details will be provided later.