Rule 52 – Major and Minor League Territorial Rights

Home Territory


  • Each MLB and MiL team shall have protected territorial rights over a specific geographic area called a home territory.
  • The home territories are outlined in Attachment 52 to the ML Rules
  • Home territories of minor league clubs may be owned and granted by the leagues.
  • No team may play home games within 15 miles from the boundary of the home territory of another team, unless specifically expected.
  • MLB home territories are also defined by Rule 1


New Territories


  • When new territories are established:
    • MiL home territories must have boundaries no closer than 15 miles from the boundaries of all other teams
    • MLB home territories must have boundaries no closer than 15 miles from the boundaries of other MiL clubs
    • However, a new territory may be created if the ballpark is more than 50 miles from the boundaries of any other home territory.
    • Home territories must be defined by county, parish, or Canadian district lines (unless outside U.S. or Canada, then boundaries may be decided by the Commissioner or League President).
  • The 15 mile “buffer” zone is not part of a team’s home territory

Overlapping Territories


  • An overlap exists if boundaries overlap or are within 15 miles of one another.
  • Overlap between MLB and MiL team – (1) neither club’s ballpark may be within 15 miles of the boundary of another home territory; and (2) home territories may not be shared without consent of the MLB club unless the ballpark is 50+ mile from the MLB club’s boundaries.
  • Overlap between MiL teams – governed by the Minor League Association


Exceptions


  • Consent – any club may consent to sharing its home territory, must be in writing
  • Draft of Territory – The PBA allows a MLB team to draft the rights of a MiL team’s home territory and then compensate the MiL team for such rights. If a MiL’c club is drafted, it may relocate immediately without forfeiting its right to compensation. A MiL club may also draft the territory of a lower-classification MiL club.


Recognition of Future Rights


A MiL club that has been granted approval to relocate shall have full protection of its relocated home territory.


Approval of Minor League Territorial Rights


All grants of home territories to MiL clubs must be approved by the Commissioner and the President of the Minor Leagues.


Loss of Territorial Rights


If a MiL club relocates, the original territory shall be considered an “open territory.” No team has rights to an open territory.