Feb 11, 2020 - Sports

MLB considers expanding playoffs to 14 teams

On Oct. 30, Washington Nationals starting pitcher Max Scherzer celebrates after beating the Houston Astros in the World Series. Photo: David J. Phillip/AP

Major League Baseball is considering expanding the postseason to nearly half the 30 teams and allowing higher-seeded wild-card teams to choose opponents, the AP reports.

The state of play: The playoffs would grow from 10 clubs to 14, with four wild cards in each league, up from two. The selections would be made on a televised show.

  • The proposal would have to be negotiated with the players' association. The current collective bargaining agreement runs through the 2021 season.

The context: A 14-team postseason would include 47% of franchises.

  • Twelve of the 32 NFL teams (38%) reach the playoffs ... 16 of 30 in the NBA (53%) ... and 16 of 31 in the NHL (52%), which expands to 32 franchises next season.

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NFL playoffs could expand to 14 teams under new labor agreement

Illustration: Lazaro Gamio/Axios

The NFL and its players' union have informally agreed to restructure the postseason and add a seventh team from each conference for a total of 14, ESPN's Adam Schefter reports.

Why it matters: If finalized as part of the NFL's new collective bargaining agreement, this format change would mark the first playoff expansion since 1990, when the league went from 10 teams to 12.

Go deeperArrowFeb 20, 2020 - Sports

Overwatch League is taking esports local in 2020

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Over its first two seasons, the Overwatch League's city-based esports franchises played their matches in a designated arena in L.A. This year, the league goes local, with all 20 teams hosting competitions in their home cities. This weekend's hosts: NYC and Dallas.

Why it matters: This home-and-away format represents a giant leap in the maturation of an esports league that eventually wants to look like the NFL, except on an international scale, according to Bobby Kotick, CEO of Activision Blizzard, which developed the game and operates the league.

Go deeperArrowFeb 6, 2020 - Sports

The MLB's problems extend far beyond Houston's cheating scandal

The Astros' second baseman José Altuve during a press conference in West Palm Beach, Florida. Photo: Michael Reaves/Getty Images

The Astros had three months to craft a thoughtful apology for the team's sign-stealing scandal. Instead, José Altuve and Alex Bregman spoke for a combined 90 seconds — and owner Jim Crane questioned whether sign-stealing even helped his team win games.

The big picture: While baseball grapples with the fallout, don't lose sight of the many other problems Major League Baseball faces as commissioner Rob Manfred enters his sixth season at the helm.

Go deeperArrowFeb 14, 2020 - Sports