MIAMI (AP) – David Edelman is usually found in a Denver Nuggets basketball game or a Colorado Rapids football game. As an usher, he interacts with fans in a role he defines as a staple of his life.
But there have been no Nuggets games for at least a month. Not even the Rapids games. Ed Edelman has no idea what he will do now.
“This is what I do for a living,” Edelman said earlier this week, as the realization hit that sports were on hiatus because of the coronavirus. “This is my income.”
Thousands of workers are said to have employed the 450 NBA and NHL games that will not be played in the coming month in response to the pandemic. And then there are more than 300 spring training sessions and regular season baseball games, 130 NCAA Division I men’s and women’s tournament games, around 50 Major League Soccer games, all international golf and tennis tournaments and who knows how many high school , small college and other entertainment events canceled or postponed due to the global health crisis.
The total economic impact of the loss of sporting events and other events due to the pandemic – assuming a one month stop – is impossible to calculate but will easily reach billions.
Tickets are not sold, so teams, leagues and organizers lose money. Fans won’t participate in events that aren’t happening, so taxi drivers and ride-ride operators have no one to ferry to and from those places with. The hotel rooms will be empty. Beers and hot dogs are not sold, so dealers and sellers lose money. Wait for staff and bartenders to not receive suggestions. Without these tips, their babysitters are not paid.
The waterfall effect extends in countless directions.
“As a player, we wanted to do something, along with our property and coaches, to ease the pain during this time,” said star guard Stephen Curry.
Some teams are trying to help. Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban, just minutes after the announcement of the NBA shutdown, said he wanted to find a way to help workers who lose money because the games can’t be played. Friday had his plan: “We will pay them as if the games had happened,” he told The Associated Press in an email.
The property, players and coaches of the Golden State Warriors have pledged to donate $ 1 million to assist employees working in the Chase Center.
Property of Warriors, players and coaches to contribute $ 1 million to the disaster relief fund for Chase Center employees pic.twitter.com/42nYAalO9t
– Warriors PR (@WarriorsPR) March 14, 2020
Other teams, including the Cleveland Cavaliers, have made commitments to workers not only in NBA events but also in the building’s minor league hockey games. Miami Heat, Toronto Raptors, Washington Wizards and Atlanta Hawks were among the first NBA franchises to reveal that they are working on how they will take care of the arena’s staff.
OK, updated list of owners who have pledged to support arena workers during suspension:
Pelicans (no firm commitments)
Dollars (to some extent)
– Paroxysm of hardwood (@HPbasketball) March 13, 2020
So did the NHL Washington Capitals, among others, and the Pistons-owned group, Red Wings and Detroit Tigers on Friday said they would set up a $ 1 million fund “to cover one month’s wages for the our part-time staff for games, concerts and events that otherwise would have worked. “
“Our teams, our cities and the leagues in which we operate are a family and we are committed to looking for each other,” said New Jersey Devils owner Josh Harris.
There were many other significant gifts revealed later on Friday.
Zion Williamson of the New Orleans Pelicans said he will “cover wages” for workers in the team’s arena for the next 30 days. Detroit Pistons’ Blake Griffin promised $ 100,000 for the workers there, the San Jose sharks said part-time arena workers would be paid for all the games not played and Florida Panthers goalkeeper Sergei Bobrovsky said he would have given $ 100,000 to workers in that club’s arena – a donation matched by his teammates and followed by another team-owned team effort.
“This is a small way to express my support and appreciation for these wonderful people who have been so great to me and my teammates and we hope that we can all join together to relieve the stress and difficulties caused by this national health crisis,” Williamson wrote on Instagram.
In the Chicago Blackhawks hockey games alone, around 1,500 workers are inside or outside the building on event nights: guest services, concessions, parking, security, box office and so on.
“The payroll per game is over $ 250,000,” said Courtney Greve Hack, a spokesman for the United Kingdom.
If this is the NHL standard (official numbers are not available), workers in the league would lose more than $ 60 million if hockey didn’t come back this season.
“I understand,” said Chris Lee, owner of a coffee and milkshake franchise in Arizona who collects 70% of his annual revenue during spring training and hockey games in Arizona Coyotes. “But this will be really difficult.”
Lee was packing up for unused when baseball announced Thursday that spring training was ending about two weeks early. He and his staff – one full-time, 14 part-time employees – aren’t sure what will come next.
The enormity of the numbers builds up quickly.
The group that owns the Raptors and other sports clubs in Toronto, Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment, says it is trying to help 4,000 workers in that city. Extrapolate it to other pro Canadian and US sports cities, and those teams could watch 100,000 workers feeling a pinch, not to mention the impact on college and other levels.
Cavaliers star Kevin Love has promised $ 100,000 to help Cleveland workers deal with what he has described as their “sudden life change”. On Friday, MVP in charge of the Milwaukee Bucks’ NBA Giannis Antetokounmpo made a $ 100,000 pledge on behalf of his family
“It’s bigger than basketball! And in this difficult moment I want to help people who simplify my life, the life of my family and that of my teammates,” wrote Antetokounmpo on Twitter.
The NCAA Division I men’s tournament generates approximately $ 900 million per year through television and marketing rights only. In Albany, New York, which was supposed to host men’s tournaments for the first time in 17 years, organizers estimated that the economic loss of the three-day event was around $ 3 million.
Bars and restaurants have purchased tons of extra perishable supplies to prepare for the crowds that don’t arrive. It will probably take a few years for the NCAA to return to the tournament in many cities slated to host next week’s games.
“It’s incredibly daunting. There’s no doubt about it,” said Mark Bardack, president of management and public relations firm Ed Lewi and Associates, who has worked on Albany tournament planning for more than a year. “To make everything disappear, even if obviously it’s not anyone’s fault”.
Some arena workers, many who don’t want to be identified because of workplace policies to talk to reporters, said they live on a paycheck. They are not alone, of course: a study by the American Payroll Association last fall said that 74% of workers in the United States would have “financial difficulties” if their normal payday was delayed by just a week.
In Philadelphia, Rodney Thompson works on commission selling popcorn and beer at the 76ers basketball games, the Flyers hockey games and the Phillies baseball games. They are all waiting.
“The more I sell, the more I earn,” said the 56-year-old. “Less I sell, less profit. It would hurt me financially. I would have had no income. … I earn quite well. But if there are no fans, there is no work. “