Under the hood of MLS's CBA

The contours of the collective bargaining agreement MLS reached with the MLS Players Union have been known for a while, such things as the salary cap and minimum salaries over the life of the agreement (2015-19). But the MLSPU's publication of the ratified agreement provides lots more detail.

MLS CBA: Feb. 2015-Jan. 2020

The most notable bits of information are allocation money distributed to teams each year and team bonuses paid out.

ALLOCATION MONEY. General allocation money -- which has been around MLS for years but never disclosed -- is money teams use to buy down salary budget charges to get them under the Designated Player threshold or collectively under their salary cap.

Expansion teams receive $1,100,000, while teams missing the playoffs receive $250,000 and those taking part in the Concacaf Champions League receive $200,000.

The maximum allowable amount of a transfer fee a team receives that it can use as allocation money is $650,000.

BONUSES. MLS awards teams bonuses, ranging from $275,000 for winning MLS to $20,000 for making the playoffs. It also awards win bonuses for each game: $7,500.

All the amounts stay the same through the term of the agreement except the bonus for winning the Supporters' Shield. It will increase from $55,000 in 2015-16 to $130,000 in 2017-19. (A Supporters' Shield champion that wins 20 games will take home more money than the MLS Cup champion.)
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