The coronavirus pandemic has essentially turned the world upside down. Entire cities have been shut down, all major, and many minor, sports activities are now offline, and businesses are feeling an economic squeeze unlike anything they have felt before. Even Wimbledon announced Wednesday that the 2020 tournament is canceled, the first time this has happened since World War II.
Still, many companies have shown a willingness to support their employees amidst the chaos, and sports franchises are no different. Quite a few are willing to go the extra mile to help those who have kept them running over the years by attempting to ease their economic burdens. However, there’s always one penny-pinching miser who believes it all belongs to him.
Established, disciplined businesses have contingency plans to handle virtually any situation that might arise – the coronavirus is the exception. No one was expecting the global economy to collapse to the point that it has, and there’s very little that could have been done to prepare for it. Still, business leaders have to have tough skin and be able to make decisions quickly in order to stay ahead of the pack. That’s why, shortly after the NBA announced the season would be suspended, Mark Cuban, owner of the Dallas Mavericks, stated that he would pay all employees at the American Airlines Center.
The Charlotte Hornets stepped up, as well, announcing that the team’s owners and its players developing a joint strategy to cover workers’ salaries. Kevin Love of the Cleveland Cavaliers was the first NBA player to make direct contributions to workers at Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse when he donated $100,000 to the employees. Since then, other NBA players have followed suit in different forms.
MLB Owners Go To Bat For Their Employees
The contributions obviously extend outside the NBA, as well. Teams in MLB, which should currently be in its second week of games, are going to have possibly wait months to hit the dugouts, and this means many employees are left without a source of income. The league, on the day it made the decision to suspend action, also decided that it would look out for the welfare of its employees, and teams agreed to contribute $1 million each to a fund created to help the workers.
All 30 MLB teams agreed to participate without much hesitation. This led league commissioner Rob Manfred to assert, “I am proud that our clubs came together so quickly and uniformly to support these individuals who provide so much to the game we love.”
Executives Lead By Example During Coronavirus Outbreak
Some team executives in different leagues have even opted to take drastic pay cuts to help offset the damage caused by COVID-19. The president of the Dallas Stars, Jim Lites, is taking a 50% reduction voluntarily, as is GM Jim Nill. The GM told ESPN, “We’re just looking to help somebody else,” Nill told the network. “Jim and I are very fortunate. The game’s been great to us. But within our organization, we have a lot of younger people working who live paycheck to paycheck. We hope this is something that can help them down the road.”
All of the assistance doesn’t mean that there still won’t be reductions in workforces or in pay – drastic times call for drastic measures, and it’s hard to imagine a more drastic time than now. However, it’s good to see that team owners, leaders and players are willing to step up and help those who have kept the fans happy all these years. Unless you happen to be associated with the Boston Bruins.
Boston Bruins Staffers Battered By Selfishness
The NHL team was last in line to release its plan of attack for employees, and it wasn’t pretty. Jeremy Jacobs, the team’s owner and the chairman of global hospitality giant Delaware North, decided that almost all of the full-time employees at TD Garden, which he also owns, would be sent home on temporary leave. As of today, 68 salaried employees are on leave and 82 are being forced to take pay reductions.
That may seem at least quasi-generous until the bigger picture is viewed. Delaware North, which reportedly takes in over $3.3 billion a year, isn’t going to provide any compensation to its thousands of part-time workers across the company. They’re basically on their own, while Jacobs and other members of the family (the entire upper brass of Delaware North shares his last name and genealogy, and the Jacobs family is reportedly worth $3.4 billion) are content keeping their million-dollar-plus salaries.
If ever there were a present-day embodiment of Ebenezer Scrooge, it would seem to be Jacobs fits the description perfectly. His treatment of workers given the current circumstances is why one part-time Bruins employee said, “Unfortunately, this whole situation has put a sour taste in my mouth. I now feel ashamed to work for the organization I was once proud to be associated with.” in the NHL odds are, he’s not alone.