A number of teams from across the NHL and NBA have pledged to pay their arena staff over the coming weeks after both leagues suspended their seasons due to the coronavirus outbreak.
Last week, the NHL joined the NBA in suspending its season following the news that an NBA player, the Utah Jazz’s Rudy Gobert, had tested positive for coronavirus. With a number of NHL teams sharing arenas with NBA outfits, the ice hockey league’s commissioner Gary Bettman said it was “no longer appropriate” to try and continue playing games.
Both leagues have been suspended “until further notice” and it remains unclear when games will resume. The situation creates uncertainty for arena workers but a number of teams from both the NHL and NBA have insisted that staff will be paid during the suspension period.
In the NBA, the Golden State Warriors’ ownership, players and coaches have pledged to donate $1m (£813,000/€897,000) to a disaster relief fund established by the Warriors Community Foundation that will provide assistance to individuals working at Chase Center, which employs more than 1,000 part-time employees.
Elsewhere in the NBA, the Cleveland Cavaliers, Chicago Bulls, Brooklyn Nets, Dallas Mavericks, Denver Nuggets, Charlotte Hornets, Los Angeles Clippers, Los Angeles Lakers, Miami Heat, Toronto Raptors, Washington Wizards, Brooklyn Nets, Sacramento Kings and Atlanta Hawks have also announced plans to support arena workers.
The aforementioned Gobert will also donate more than $500,000 to support both the employee relief fund at Vivint Smart Home Arena and COVID-related social services relief efforts.
The Phoenix Suns will compensate part-time staff and hourly workers who were scheduled to work during the games on March 18 and March 21. The team had not conducted staffing for April games.
NBA MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo, who plays for the Milwaukee Bucks, has pledged $100,000 to workers at the Fiserv Forum (pictured), while the New Orleans Pelicans’ Zion Williamson has vowed to cover the salaries of workers at Smoothie King Center for the next 30 days.
In the NHL, the San Jose Sharks, Colorado Avalanche, Los Angeles Kings and Washington Capitals are among the teams that will support arena staff. The ownership group of the Detroit Red Wings, which also operates the NBA’s Pistons and Major League Baseball’s Tigers, also announced similar plans.
Image: Milwaukee Bucks