DALLAS – What started as a simple idea and statement by Dallas Mavericks team owner Mark Cuban last Wednesday night and became a kind gesture by Cleveland’s Kevin Love a day later is now a full-blown movement as the sports world heads into its first week of a shut-down since the coronavirus outbreak was classified as a pandemic by the World Health Organization.
Shortly after the NBA announced on Wednesday that its season was being put on hold because of the coronavirus, Cuban, the Dallas Mavericks club owner, said he would work on getting arena employees paid while they wait for the games to return and they go back to work.
A day later, Love, the Cavaliers forward, announced he was donating $100,000 to help the organization’s arena staff and support staff. In his announcement he added, “I hope that during this time of crisis, others will join me in supporting our communities.”
The days since have seen plenty of stepping up.
–Also last Thursday, the Cavaliers joined Love and pledged to compensate all Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse hourly and event staff employees “as if every game and every event is still taking place.”
–On Friday, the Pistons’ Blake Griffin said he is donating $100,000 to help pay the salaries of workers at Little Caesars Arena in Detroit. Griffin tweeted to Love, “Just following suit.”
–Ilitch Companies, which owns among other things the Detroit Tigers, the Red Wings and Little Caesars Arena, announced the establishment of a $1 million fund to cover one month’s wages “for our part-time staff for games, concerts, and events that they would have otherwise worked were it not for the recent cancellations and postponements caused by the coronavirus crisis.”
–The Golden State Warriors announced that their owners, players and coaches are donating $1 million to a disaster-relief fund that will aid the more than 1,000 part-time Chase Center workers. Warriors guard Stephen Curry said in a statement released by the team, “As players, we wanted to do something, along with our ownership and coaches, to help ease the pain during this time.”
–The Mavericks issued a statement saying the organization is making arrangements with American Airlines Arena and other corporate partners “to ensure that scheduled event staff will receive payment for the six home games that were to take place during the 30-day NBA hiatus.” The impacted staff will include security, police, parking attendants, housekeeping, in-arena entertainers and guest services staff, according to the release.
–Milwaukee Bucks star and reigning NBA MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo pledged to donate $100,000 to Fiserv Forum staff. Shortly after, Bucks senior vice president Alex Lasry tweeted that “we follow our leader” and announced the team will match Antetokounmpo’s donation.
–New Orleans Pelicans rookie Zion Williamson pledged to pay the salaries of all Smoothie King Center employees for the next month. “My mother has always set an example for me about being respectful for others and being grateful for what we have, and so today I am pledging to cover the salaries for all of those Smoothie King Center workers for the next 30 days,” he said in an Instagram post.
–The Phoenix Suns and Talking Stick Resort Arena announced on Friday plans to “ensure that all part-time staff and hourly workers, including employees that work in guest service relations, concessions, ticketing, security, parking and events services will receive financial compensation for the six remaining scheduled Suns home games and concerts and shows that have been canceled in March.”
—Kroenke Sports & Entertainment, which owns the Los Angeles Rams, Denver Nuggets, Colorado Avalanche, Colorado Rapids and the Premier League’s Arsenal F.C., pledged to continue paying its part-time and hourly staffers for the next 30 days while asking its vendors to do the same.
–In the NHL, Florida Panthers goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky donated $100,000 to part-time workers at BB&T Center in Sunrise, Fla. — a donation matched by teammates as a group and added to by team ownership.
–Pittsburgh Penguins players have started a fund to pay “full and part-time arena/service employees who would otherwise lose income on regular season games due to the pause in the NHL season.”
–Other NHL franchises that as of Friday night have pledged to pay arena workers at least through the end of the month, if not longer, include the Anaheim Ducks, New Jersey Devils, Phoenix Suns, Philadelphia Flyers, San Jose Sharks, Tampa Bay Lightning, Toronto Maple Leafs and Washington Wizards.
–Field Level Media