Philadelphia 76ers staff faces temporary 20 percent paycuts due to coronavirus fallout

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The financial fallout of NBA games not being played hit hourly arena workers first, although all 30 teams — and a number of players — have stepped up with some kind of plan to offer financial assistance to those people.

Now comes the next hit:

Salaried staff with the Philadelphia 76ers (and the NHL’s Devils) have been hit with a 20 percent pay reduction and a four-day workweek because of the crisis. Marc Stein of the New York Times broke the news.

This does not apply to NBA players, who fall under a different category. Players will get their full paycheck on April 1, but the owners have kept their options open about the April 15 checks (there is a clause in all player contracts that could allow owners to take a step that direction).

The 76ers are owned by Harris Blitzer Sports & Entertainment. Josh Harris, worth $3.8 billion, is the official primary owner of the Sixers. That has led to a backlash on NBA Twitter of people wondering why Harris needs to protect his immense wealth by cutting the salaries of people who can afford it less.

Scott O’Neil, CEO of Harris Blitzer Sports & Entertainment, sent this statement to impacted employees:

“As we navigate this evolving COVID-19 environment, we are mindful of the long-term impact the suspension of live events and games will have on our organization and industry, To ensure we can continue to support and operate our businesses during these uncertain times without reducing our workforce, we are asking our full-time, salaried employees to temporarily reduce their pay by up to 20 percent and move to a four-day week.”

The NBA remains suspended indefinitely. Mark Cuban optimistically thinks games could return by May, while most people around the league predict June. Nobody really knows, it could be later than that, depending on what happens with the COVID crisis in the United States. Until then, some Sixers staff will take the hit.