With NBA games suspended due to the coronavirus, will players and stadium workers still get paid?

One of the many sports leagues to suspend play because of the coronavirus is the National Basketball Association. As millions of Americans struggle with uncertainty during the coronavirus pandemic, perhaps they’re not worried about whether NBA players, many who make millions of dollars a year, will miss any paychecks. But what about the NBA community far less able to miss a paycheck — people who work in the league’s arenas.

They include hourly workers at ticket offices, concessions and arena security. Lost wages for these workers could impact a mortgage payment, a credit card bill, or a surprise medical cost.

Here is what’s in the works for paying players and arena workers.

NBA players

Amid concerns over the spread of the coronavirus, the NBA recently suspended play for at least 30 days. Over the weekend, the National Basketball Players Association (NBPA) said it “fully expects that players will continue to receive salary on their designated paydays” even though NBA games have been suspended.

There were roughly 18 games remaining in the NBA regular season when the suspension of play was announced, and players will continue to receive their checks as scheduled every two weeks.

There is however one “doomsday” scenario where players would stop receiving checks, or at the very least receive a smaller portion of their salary.

ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported that the NBPA informed players about a “doomsday provision” within the collective bargaining agreement that would allow team owners to not pay players if the remainder of the season (including playoffs) was canceled due to the coronavirus outbreak.

The clause, known as the force majeure event clause, includes situations like pandemics, natural disasters and war.

No talks about triggering the provision have taken place, according to ESPN.

Three NBA players, Rudy Gobert, Donovan Mitchell and Christian Wood have been diagnosed with COVID-19, aka the coronavirus.

Stadium workers

To combat the economic impact of the coronavirus, many NBA teams and players have made public pledges to assist stadium workers for lost wages during the stoppage.

“NBA teams, arena owners and players are working together in partnership to support arena employees impacted by our season hiatus,” said Mike Bass, a spokesperson for the NBA. Bass also said that teams are “in the process of formulating” their own plans.

Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban has indicated that workers would be taken care of in some way.

“I reached out to the folks at the arena and our folks at the Mavs to find out what it would cost to support, financially support, people who aren’t going to be able to come to work,” Cuban said.

NBA ownership groups across the league, including those in Washington, Philadelphia and Sacramento, have made similar public pledges to help arena workers.

NBA players have also pledged to cover costs of lost wages from workers. Reigning league MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo, Blake Griffin, and even rookie Zion Williamson have each pledged to give $100,000 to make sure arena workers are paid during the suspension of games.

As of March 16, there were 179,073 cases and 7,074 deaths worldwide, including 71 deaths in the U.S.