Lakers, Clippers, Kings and Staples Center provide millions in aid for arena workers

Dan Woike
With the Lakers, Clippers and Kings on hiatus, sports fans have little reason to show up at Staples Center amid the coronavirus pandemic.  (Harry How / Getty Images)

The Clippers, Lakers and Kings, along with Staples Center, established a fund to provide financial assistance to all hourly employees at the arena impacted by the coronavirus pandemic, the organizations said Saturday in a joint news release.

According to sources not authorized to speak publicly, the assistance package is expected to be worth more than $5 million, though an exact number is fluid because no one knows for sure how many games and events will be canceled.

Payments from the fund will go to more than 2,800 Staples Center employees for shifts lost to cancellations through the end of the NBA and NHL regular seasons.

“We understand that these extraordinary events have impacted all of our lives and, as a valuable member of the Staples Center team, your health and well-being is important to us,” said a letter to employees co-authored by Staples Center owner AEG, the Clippers, Lakers and Kings.

Staples Center becomes the latest NBA venue to assist support staff, a movement that gained momentum in the immediate aftermath of the NBA’s suspension of its season.

Cleveland’s Kevin Love, Detroit’s Blake Griffin, New Orleans’ Zion Williamson and Milwaukee’s Giannis Antetokounmpo all have pledged sizable donations to help compensate arena staff.

Earlier this week, Ducks owners Henry and Susan Samueli said they will pay all full-time and part-time employees through the end of March while the Golden State Warriors ownership group, players and coaches will provide a $1-million relief fund for 1,000 part-time employees who work in food service, security, guest services and maintenance.

On Saturday, the NBA’s first known coronavirus carrier, Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert, donated $500,000 to relief funds in Utah, Oklahoma City (where he tested positively) and his home country of France.

“I am humbled by the tireless efforts and care of people around the globe for those affected by COVID-19, especially my own communities of Utah and France, in addition to my appreciation for the state of Oklahoma and my care there, and of course, my Utah Jazz family,” Gobert said in a statement.

“I know there are countless ways that people have been impacted. These donations are a small token that reflect my appreciation and support for all those impacted and are the first of many steps I will take to try and make a positive difference, while continuing to learn more about COVID-19 and educate others. Much gratitude.”