MLB's Pledge Marks First League-Wide Effort To Assist Ballpark Staffs
All 30 MLB teams will contribute $1M to "support their gameday employees who are missing paychecks during the sport’s shutdown," according to Jeff Fletcher of the O.C. REGISTER. MLB yesterday said that the 30 clubs would contribute $30M to "support the ushers, vendors, security guards, ticket-takers and other seasonal workers who will be affected." Fletcher notes many ballpark employees are "paid by the game and will not have that income during the delay." If the schedule is cut, their income "likely would be reduced" (O.C. REGISTER, 3/18). USA TODAY's Lorenzo Reyes notes many individual franchises in sports have "made similar pledges to assist stadium workers, as have certain star players." However, no league has "taken on the collective effort to provide relief like MLB, securing the million-dollar commitment from each organization" (USA TODAY, 3/18). In Newark, Brendan Kuty notes MLB teams are "still working out how and when they will distribute the money" (Newark STAR-LEDGER, 3/18). The Red Sox said that they have "approximately 1,300 affected employees." In Boston, Michael Silverman notes using the 1,300 figure, a $1M bailout "amounts to almost $770 per Red Sox employee" (BOSTON GLOBE, 3/18).
NO EASY TASK: In Seattle, Ryan Divish notes the Mariners were "already in the position of having their first homestand relocated to a different venue" before MLB suspended the season. As a result, they had "begun the process of trying to find a way to help the approximately 1,100 employees that are on hourly wages and reliant on events at T-Mobile Park." Mariners President & CEO Kevin Mather said, "We knew two weeks ago we were going to miss seven games. So we were already working on a plan." Mather "lauded the efforts of the hourly employees, who manage every aspect of the game-day experience and more" (SEATTLE TIMES, 3/18).
COLLECTIVE EFFORT: In Portland, Jamie Goldberg notes the Timbers and NWSL Portland Thorns have "created a financial assistance fund to help support part-time staff members and are undertaking other initiatives" to aid the local community. Peregrine Sports, the parent company for the two clubs, will use the fund to "pay fan experience and merchandise staff, among others, for games missed" (Portland OREGONIAN, 3/18). Predators President & CEO Sean Henry said that employees at Bridgestone Arena will be "paid for canceled events they were scheduled to work, such as the recent SEC men's basketball tournament." In Nashville, Paul Skrbina notes a "bigger-picture plan is still being discussed about how to proceed should more events be canceled" (Nashville TENNESSEAN, 3/18). In Houston, Chandler Rome notes Astros CF George Springer "donated $100,000 to Minute Maid Park employees" (HOUSTON CHRONICLE, 3/18).
OTHER DONATIONS: The Penguins' foundations will "auction unused St. Patrick's Days jerseys for the benefit of various charities including those geared towards aiding individuals impacted" (TRIBLIVE.com, 3/17). Seahawks QB Russell Wilson and his wife, Ciara, said that they will "donate 1 million meals to Food Lifeline through the Feeding America nationwide network to help those suffering" (SEATTLE TIMES, 3/18). In Minneapolis, McLellan & Hine note the Wild and Xcel Energy Center have "donated more than 2,400 pounds of perishable food items from the arena and Herbies On The Park to Catholic Charities Dorothy Day Place and Ronald McDonald House Charities since the NHL paused its season Thursday." Meanwhile, T'Wolves and WNBA Minnesota Lynx Owner Glen Taylor said that both organizations will pledge a $1M "relief fund to aid part-time workers of Target Center events" (Minneapolis STAR TRIBUNE, 3/18).