By Ian Oland
The Athletic’s Tarik El-Bashir and NBC4’s Mark Segraves are reporting that Ted Leonsis will pay Capital One Arena workers despite all games and events due to the coronavirus pandemic. Leonsis made the announcement and informed staff this morning, according to El-Bashir.
El-Bashir termed the workers being taken care of by Leonsis as “Capital One Arena staff”, while Segraves called them “part-time employees for all 16 events canceled.”
Ted Leonsis informed Capital One Arena staff this morning that anyone scheduled to work an event – #Caps and Wizards games plus other events – through March 31 will be paid, a source tells me.
— Tarik El-Bashir (@Tarik_ElBashir) March 13, 2020
The owner of @MSE @WashWizards @Capitals –@TedLeonsis will pay his part time employees for all 16 events canceled at the @CapitalOneArena through the end of the month. pic.twitter.com/wAz9CrTtv7
— Mark Segraves (@SegravesNBC4) March 13, 2020
While talking to reporters on Friday evening, Leonsis said all employees who were on the schedule will get paid wages as though the event happened. Leonsis also emphasized that even if the event takes place in April or May, the employees will still be paid, as reported by the Washington Post’s Candace Buckner. The MSE leadership group voted unanimously to pay the part-timers.
To note: All part-time employees who were on schedule will get paid normal wages as though the event happened.
But say, the Caps-Red Wings game which was supposed to play Thursday just gets pushed back into April or May, employees will be paid again for working the event.
— Candace Buckner (@CandaceDBuckner) March 13, 2020
“Over the years, obviously, [part-time arena workers] have grown to count on those dollars and when we made the announcement to stop NHL games, NBA games, all concerts we had to have great levels of empathy for those people,” Leonsis said as reported by Candace Buckner.
The workers presumed to still be paid include staff like ushers, greeters, and ticket takers. It is unclear whether independent contractors, such as game-day operations, who are paid per game would be included.
“This is an unprecedented time. Developments on the COVID-19 outbreak continue to be fast-moving,” Leonsis wrote in Ted’s Take, his longtime blog. “We now have all seen the reported cases in 43 jurisdictions across the U.S., and various local governments are taking a number of steps in response, including yesterday’s declaration of a State of Emergency in the District of Columbia. In the past two days, the National Basketball Association (NBA) and the National Hockey League (NHL) issued directives that all games are suspended until further notice. The NBA G League also announced today that it will suspend games. We will additionally continue to scenario plan around our upcoming WNBA season and events, with details to be shared later this month.”
He added, “Safeguarding the health and welfare of the community is paramount” and that the pandemic is an “evolving issue” where there’s no clear path forward as of now.
The Capitals majority owner is following in the footsteps of several other NHL owners who went public in the last 24 hours that they would take care of some of their most vulnerable workers. New Jersey Devils’ owners Josh Harris and David Blitzer said, “Employees are family… It’s important to band together and lift each other up during these times.”
NJ owners Josh Harris and David Blitzer say they have committed to paying hourly/event staff for postponed @NJDevils games and Prudential Center events. “Employees are family…It’s important to band together and lift each other up during these times.”
— Elliotte Friedman (@FriedgeHNIC) March 13, 2020
Anaheim Ducks owners, Henry and Susan Samueli, will pay full and part-time employees scheduled to work through March 31.
Told that #NHLDucks owners Henry and Susan Samueli, who also own and manage Honda Center, will continue paying full-time and part-time employees who were scheduled to work at the arena through March 31.
— Eric Stephens (@icemancometh) March 13, 2020
Nashville Predators COO Sean Henry will do the same and said its event staff that’s what makes Bridgestone Arena so special. He remarked they will be the ones hurting the most.
Henry says #Preds event staff is what makes Bridgestone Arena so special, and without events for awhile they will be hurting. Says team will pay workers for any already scheduled shifts and will try to make a plan moving forward for other events lost. @NC5
— Steve Layman (@SteveLayman) March 12, 2020
Sergei Bobrovsky has also pledged to donate $100k to Florida Panthers’ part-time staff as well as his teammates.
#FlaPanthers goalie Sergei Bobrovsky is going to donate $100,000 to make sure all part-time staff who work at BB&T Center get paid during this hiatus. His teammates will match that $100,000 with ownership putting in whatever else is needed. pic.twitter.com/SKNSrjrecO
— George Richards (@GeorgeRichards) March 13, 2020
Since Leonsis’s pledge to pay the staff was made public, the Tampa Bay Lightning, San Jose Sharks, Philadelphia Flyers, and Pittsburgh Penguins have followed suit.
#tblightning statement on owner Jeff Vinik compensating part-time employees through end of March, including NCAA tournament games and other events at Amalie Arena. Also launching program for assistance with grants for hardships. pic.twitter.com/x54o1hLP19
— Joe Smith (@JoeSmithTB) March 13, 2020
Sharks Sports and Entertainment part time employees who were scheduled to work Sharks and Barracuda games through the end of March will be compensated.
— Kevin Kurz (@KKurzNHL) March 13, 2020
It was announced today that Comcast Spectacor will pay Wells Fargo Center game-day employees during suspension of play, while Josh Harris and David Blitzer will be doing the same for Sixers team staff: https://t.co/Q3SY6alltk pic.twitter.com/enUOvanpv5
— Liberty Ballers (@Liberty_Ballers) March 13, 2020
The Penguins announce plans to pay PPG Paints Arena employees impacted by the NHL's decision to pause the season. pic.twitter.com/TovK9FQN6Z
— The Athletic Pittsburgh (@TheAthleticPGH) March 13, 2020
A full list on who is and isn’t can be seen here.
This article has been updated since first being published.
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