The logo for the National Hockey League’s (NHL) New Jersey Devils is displayed outside the team’s home arena, the Prudential Center, in Newark, New Jersey.
Victor J. Blue | Bloomberg | Getty Images
The financial impact of a sports shutdown is starting to trickle down.
On Monday, Philadelphia 76ers and New Jersey Devils’ employees were informed they will be receiving temporary salary reductions of up to 20% starting April 15 and going through the end of June. The cuts initially applied only to employees making more than $50,000, but the team changed it to to $100,000 on Tuesday.
The Sixers and Devils are owned by Harris-Blitzer Sports and Entertainment, a group that includes Josh Harris, co-founder of Apollo Investment Group and David Blitzer, an executive at Blackstone.
In response, 76ers center Joel Embiid announced he has decided to donate $500,000 with some of that money going to help team employees whose salaries have been reduced.
In a statement, Scott O’Neil, CEO of Harris Blitzer Sports & Entertainment said the decision was made to ensure “we can support and operate our businesses during these uncertain times without reducing our workforce.”
As part of the changes, employees have also moved to a four-day workweek and are being encouraged to take online classes during the time off.
These temporary cuts do not apply to players on the team, but do apply to executives at the highest levels.
The NBA announced on March 11 that it suspended the season due to COVID-19, and the NHL announced their decision a day later. No decision on a return date has been made for either league.
Devils managing partners Harris and Blitzer were among the first NHL owners to publicly commit to paying part-time workers for any postponed or canceled games and concerts through the end of the regular season. The Prudential Center in Newark, where the Devils play, hosts over 175 live events each year.
O’Neil said the organization is committed to playing an ongoing role in the funding efforts to help the most impacted residents in their home cities.
The Devils were purchased by the group in 2013 for $320 million. The team is now valued at $550 million, according to Forbes.
The 76ers were purchased for a reported $280 million in 2013. The team is now worth more than $2 billion.
Also on Tuesday, Group CH, which owns the Montreal Canadians, announced that 60% of the organization’s workforce will be temporarily reduced beginning March 30. An assistance fund will allow the workers to receive 80% of their base salary for a period of eight weeks, and loans will be made available to those who need it.
“This decision was necessary given the significant impact the pandemic has had on the sports and entertainment industries,” said Groupe CH owner, president, and CEO, Geoff Molson in a statement.