Last Friday, there was a leak about the Los Angeles Lakers, LA Clippers and Los Angeles Kings’ plans to pay Staples Center staffers for games they would have worked that got cancelled due to the NBA and NHL suspending their respective seasons due to the threat of COVID-19, or coronavirus.
The three teams later confirmed the news in a press release, and gave more details about who their money will help, and how:
In response to the disruption caused by the coronavirus pandemic, the LA Clippers, LA Kings, Los Angeles Lakers and STAPLES Center have joined together to establish a fund to provide financial support to all hourly event staff employees impacted by the suspension of sporting events at STAPLES Center. The fund is designed to provide compensation for wages lost by employees scheduled to work at suspended sporting events through the end of the NBA and NHL regular seasons.
Payments from the fund will be distributed to more than 2,800 active hourly event staff which includes ushers, security officers, ticket sellers, ticket takers, parking attendants, merchandise staff, food and beverage employees, housekeeping and operations staff and stage hands, among others.
Recognizing that the coronavirus is not just a health crisis but also an economic one, the organizations have come together in this unprecedented way to help the valued employees who work tirelessly to deliver outstanding guest experiences and teamwork that is the heart of STAPLES Center.
That’s a substantial commitment, but how much will it cost? Well, according to Dan Woike of the Los Angeles Times, more than $5 million.
Even while acknowledging that to these teams, that’s just Avery Bradley money, this is still significant for a few reasons. For one, not every single NBA team is helping their arena staff out in this way, so even while this is not that much money for these millionaire and billionaire owners, they’re still doing the right thing in a world where not everyone else is, which deserves to be applauded.
This is also something that hits workers at Staples Center harder than at some other arenas, because there are more games and events, and thus more opportunities for them to make a higher percentage of their normal earnings there. The Lakers, Clippers and Kings doing this makes it less likely those workers now have to search out a new job during a pandemic. While that’s on some level just human decency, it’s also not necessarily the norm for big businesses, so kudos to these three teams for making a sizable financial commitment to doing the right thing.