As the coronavirus continues to disrupts sports across the globe, athletes, coaches, and owners have joined together to help those affected by the pandemic.
On Saturday, the Los Angeles Lakers, L.A. Clippers, and L.A. Kings, three teams that each call Staples Center in Downtown Los Angeles their home, have joined together to provide financial support for the myriad of employees that will be out of work for the foreseeable future.
The three teams announced that they will establish a fund to provide compensation for wages lost by employees scheduled to work at Staples Center during the now suspended events through the NBA and NHL regular seasons.
The NBA suspended their season on Wednesday after a player on the Utah Jazz, Rudy Gobert, had tested positive for the coronavirus. In less than 24 hours, all the other North American sports leagues including the NHL, MLB, MLS, NASCAR, and the PGA all suspended their leagues as well.
According to the announcement on Saturday, there are more than 2,800 active hourly employees who work at Staples Center. These event staff include ushers, security offices, ticket sellers, ticket takers, parking lot attendants, merchandise staff, food and beverage employees, housekeeping, operations staff, stage hands, and more. The three teams said they will make sure the fund will be distributed to every one of these employees.
After the announcement of the league suspensions, Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban, said he would make sure that there was a plan in place to take care of all the hourly employees at the American Airlines Center in downtown Dallas.
“I reached out to the folks at the arena and our folks at the Mavs to find out what it would cost to support, financially support, people who aren’t going to be able to come to work,” Cuban said. “They get paid by the hour, and this was their source of income. So, we’ll do some things there. We may ask them to go do some volunteer work in exchange, but we’ve already started the process of having a program in place. I don’t have any details to give, but it’s certainly something that’s important to me.”
Soon after, players began to follow suit.
Cleveland Cavaliers forward Kevin Love was the first player to announce that he would be donating $100,000 dollars to the hourly employees at Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse, and soon after other players including Blake Griffin, Giannis Antetokounmpo, and Zion Williamson all donated the same.
Other organizations are donating as well. The Atlanta Hawks and Golden State Warriors have each pledged to contribute $1 million to the fund for hourly arena employees.
Gobert, NBA’s patient zero of the coronavirus, pledged $500,000 on Saturday for hourly arena employees at the Vivint Smart Home Arena, as well as coronavirus-related charities in Utah and Oklahoma City.
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