“Our ownership group and leadership team are in total agreement that this is the right thing to do,” said Monica Dixon, MSE chief administrative officer and president of external affairs. MSE already committed to paying part-time staff for 15 scheduled games and events in March. There were five games scheduled in April.
In sum, 850 MSE part-time staff will receive payments totaling $1.2 million for the suspended games and events through the end of the NHL and NBA seasons. Both leagues suspended their seasons in mid-March because of the novel coronavirus pandemic.
All events at Capital One Arena, where the Capitals and Wizards play, are postponed until further notice.
“Every league and every team has its own set of individual circumstances and must act accordingly,” Dixon said. “For Monumental Sports & Entertainment, we are operating simply in a paused state of play for our regular season and playoffs, and we intend to come back as a fully functioning organization to complete this season.”
Other NBA and NHL teams have taken similar actions in pledging to pay their part-time workers, though some have chosen to pay workers only if games are canceled. Others, such as the Boston Bruins and Montreal Canadians, announced layoffs for full-time, salaried employees.
The Bruins, who were the last team in the NHL to offer financial help to part-time workers, said Wednesday that 68 of their full-time, salaried employees will be placed on temporary leave. Additionally, 82 full-time associates will receive an indefinite salary reduction.
The New Jersey Devils and Philadelphia 76ers announced they were cutting salaries for full-time employees by 20 percent before owner Josh Harris reversed the decision and apologized publicly after a public backlash.
In the NBA, examples of financial support range from the Los Angeles Lakers, Los Angeles Clippers and Sacramento Kings establishing a joint fund to provide financial support for all hourly event staff workers to the Milwaukee Bucks, who are covering full wages of Fiserv Forum staffers, including those employed by outside vendors, for 30 days.
In Dallas, Stars chief executive Jim Lites and General Manager Jim Nill are taking temporary 50 percent pay cuts while the NHL season is paused to help alleviate financial stress on the organization.
“The entire MSE family is focused on preparing for when we eventually come back,” Dixon said. “We are going to come out of this better and stronger because we have the strength and depth on our team to weather this crisis.”