Teams, arenas in L.A., Chicago to pay event staff


LOS ANGELES — Coalitions of professional sports teams and their arenas in both Los Angeles and Chicago joined together to provide financial support for event employees while the NBA and NHL remaining regular-season games are halted because of the coronavirus pandemic in the United States.

In Los Angeles, the NBA’s Lakers and Clippers, along with the NHL’s Kings and Staples Center, said they would create a fund to alleviate the strain on the more than 2,800 hourly staff employees who depend on working the several games and concert events held at Staples Center.

The Lakers, Clippers and Kings are tenants of Staples Center, which is owned and operated by AEG. AEG has a 27% ownership stake in the Lakers and a 50% stake in the Kings. Steve Ballmer owns the Clippers.

On Friday, Staples Center donated 7,000 pounds of food that would have gone to waste to The Midnight Mission and Los Angeles Mission Men’s Center in downtown Los Angeles.

In Chicago, the NBA’s Bulls, NHL’s Blackhawks and the United Center said they would pay about 1,200 day-of-game staff through the end of the seasons as they were originally scheduled.

Also on Saturday, Pegula Sports & Entertainment, which owns the Buffalo Sabres, announced that game-day employees will be reimbursed for any lost wages because of canceled games.

Earlier this week, the Milwaukee Bucks said they would match star Giannis Antetokounmpo‘s $100,000 donation to Fiserv Forum staff. Those donations followed a similar pledge from Cleveland Cavaliers forward Kevin Love that sparked other players to contribute as well.

Orlando Magic CEO Alex Martins said in a news conference this week that the Magic organization “has always done right by its employees and I don’t expect to do anything different this time around.” Orlando is working on a compensation plan for hourly workers and Magic players have expressed interest in participating.

Other teams that have pledged support or said they are making plans to help staff include the Atlanta Hawks, Brooklyn Nets, Detroit Red Wings and Tigers, Florida Panthers, Golden State Warriors, Houston Rockets, New Jersey Devils, Phoenix Suns, Pittsburgh Penguins, Toronto Maple Leafs and Raptors, and the Washington Capitals and Wizards.

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