Could the NFL & NBA Be Less Functional Than Baseball?

It signed its labor deal quickly and quietly, and may now reshape its playoffs to generate more revenue and excitement

Who would have thought Major League Baseball, usually the archaic and dysfunctional sports league, would be the one getting things done?

Commissioner Bud Selig said on Thursday that, pending a final decision from the league's special committee for on-field issues, it will shuffle its playoff format to the benefit of teams and broadcasters everywhere.

There will be an additional wild-card team in the playoffs, meaning an additional play-in game and a whole lot more television revenue.

As of now, Fox and Turner pay MLB about $400 million for the rights to the playoffs and some regular season games. Given that rights fees continue to escalate for sports on TV, that number could go up quite a bit.

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By giving teams another opening to make the playoffs, it should also maintain fan interest through those long summers – or at least that’s the idea. 

Another change is that in 2013 the Houston Astros will switch divisions so that each league has 15 teams. As of now, the National League has 16 and the American League has 14. Making sure each league has an equal number of teams took how many years again?

Still, this is progress, especially if you look at what the other leagues are going through.

The NBA has its lockout, costing its players, broadcasters and certain teams millions.

The NFL almost had a lockout, and still has to deal with many of its players getting concussed.

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College football has the mother of all scandals, and college basketball seems to have just secured a sexual abuse allegation as well.

But the MLB? It’s season ended a few weeks ago, and everything is peachy.

The owners and players reached a labor agreement quietly and quickly.

Now, the league has a plan that, if implemented, should boost revenue.

This is the league that won't let its own clips on YouTube.

The world has officially been turned upside down.