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The Philanthropy of Sports Franchise Owners and Teams During COVID-19

This article comes from a Personal Profitability partner.

Even though the spread of COVID-19 has effectively shut down many major sports leagues for the current season, it hasn’t kept dozens of millionaire athletes, their team investors, and venture capitalist owners from staying in the game. While many athletes have kept up with their rigorous diet and training routines, several sports icons and team owners have made moves to help out their communities during the time of economic hardship that the coronavirus has brought to the globe. Here is the shortlist of players, teams, and owners that are making a financial contribution to COVID-19 relief efforts, though dozens of other entities have made similar efforts.

The Atlanta Braves

Freddie Freeman, the All-Star first baseman, has pledged $50,000 to both the Giving Kitchen and the Atlanta Food Bank. He has also donated an additional $25,000 to the Salvation Army.

The Atlanta Hawks

The major city of Atlanta has been a hot spot for coronavirus cases, and prior to the shut-down of the leagues for the season, the Hawks team owner Tony Ressler had already decided to take care of the franchises workers. In an article published in The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Ressler is quoted as saying “if we shut down, we have to take care of our part-time employees” to Hawk CEO Steve Koonin.

The Bostin Celtics

The team playing out of Boston’s TD Garden is reportedly paying the team-employed game-night staff throughout the remainder of the regular season. This will include ball boys, locker room attendants, stats crew, performers, and the crew for the scorer’s table.

The Brooklyn Nets

Spencer Dinwiddie, a Nets guard, sent out a tweet that instigated a response to take care of non-salaried arena workers. These workers should receive the paychecks that would have typically been earned at Nets games through the end of May. The care package is also extending paychecks for events at the Barclays Center venue that were canceled.

The Charlotte Hornets

Both team players and team owners are working together to provide for the salaries of part-time workers at the Spectrum Center for games that were scheduled through April 13th. This includes any of the G League Greensboro Swarm games that were scheduled.

The Chicago Cubs

Noted right fielder Jason Heyward has donated $200,000 to relief efforts in Chicago. The funds have been equally split between the Greater Chicago Food Depository and MASK, an organization that has been collecting food and supplies for families affected by the virus.

The Cleveland Cavaliers

The first player in the league to donate funds to event staff was the star forward Kevin Love, who announced on social media that he was giving $100,000 to the workers. The remaining Cavaliers then decided as a whole to take care of all the hourly staff employed at Rocket Mortgage Field House.

The Dallas Mavericks

After the league announced the postponement, billionaire investor and team owner Mark Cuban immediately put all the employees who would work games and events at the American Airlines Center on notice that they would be paid during the break. The Mavericks also released a statement that employees who ate breakfast or lunch at local Dallas-area restaurants would be reimbursed, as an effort to help keep local businesses alive as well.

The Golden State Warriors

Owned by venture capitalist Mark Stevens, the Warrior family made the decision to contribute one million dollars to a disaster relief fund developed for the Chase Center employees. The team made the announcement with the intention of easing the financial pain of the hard-working men and women who create an incredible game-night experience for the guests and fans at the center.

The Houston Astros

Another star stepping forward, George Springer made a pledge of $100,000 to help the employees of Minute Maid Park. For him, the donation was about taking care of the families that took care of his family with each game he played.  Alex Bregman also made a personal contribution of 1,000 quarantine food kits to the Houston Food Bank and urged others to do so as well. The food kits could feed a local student for 28 meals.

The LA Clippers and Lakers

Both the Clipper and the Lakers play their games out of the Staples Center, along with the NHL Kings franchise. These three teams have established a fund to compensate the 2,800 contract and part-time workers that would typically staff the Staples Center during the NBA and NHL seasons. This relief extends to announcers, dance teams, and team statisticians. On his own, Lakers forward Anthony Davis partnered with Lineage Logistics to help displaced Staples Centers workers find employment while the NBA is suspended. The partnership has also promised to match donates to Feed the Frontlines LA for up to $250,000 throughout the pandemic.  

These are just a few examples of generosity and philanthropy coming out of the professional sports industry. From the athletes to the investors or owners of the teams, everyone is rallying around the employees that are taking the brunt of the financial hardship from the suspension and postponement of the national sports leagues.

This article comes from a Personal Profitability partner.

This post was originally published on May 22, 2020 and updated on August 31, 2022


The Philanthropy of Sports Franchise Owners and Teams During COVID-19
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