One part time Kroenke Sports and Entertainment employee who works Nuggets and Avalanche games at Pepsi Center told DNVR Friday that in the wake of the NBA and NHL suspending their seasons due to the threat of COVID-19, he’d begun searching for new employment. For Joe, as this employee was referred to in the story (no one who spoke with DNVR wanted to be identified), working game nights was his only source of income.

Joe’s job search will be temporarily put on hold after KSE announced Saturday that they will pay their hourly and part time employees for the next 30 days. The NBA said Thursday that the league’s current hiatus will last at least 30 days.

“One of the many consequences of the pandemic is its effect on area businesses of all sizes,” KSE Vice-Chairman Josh Kroenke said. “Many companies – in particular the service industry – are temporarily laying off hard-working employees due to the cancellation of events amid an uncertain future. Our hourly KSE event staff plays an integral role in ensuring our fan experience is first class in every way, and it is with these thoughts in mind that KSE will continue to pay its part time and hourly employees for the next 30 days. We also have asked our vendors and partners to do the same.”

The threat of COVID-19 has left hundreds of part time employees who worked at KSE-operated venues including Pepsi Center, Paramount Theatre, Dick’s Sporting Goods Park, and 1STBANK Center, all of which have suspended operations for 30 days, without a job. It’s the appropriate gesture from KSE to continue to pay their employees that comes as NBA players and teams have rallied together to assist hourly arena workers who are suddenly without a paycheck.

KSE also said in a press release that it “continues to work with the local food recovery program, We Don’t Waste, to provide food for those in need.” On Friday, KSE along with their partners donated six pallets of food from their various venues that would have perished due to the recent event suspensions.

“Denver is an incredibly resilient city,” said Kroenke. “We have met tragedies and uncertainty head-on many times before, and we are doing so again now. The impact COVID-19 is having on our health and business communities is unprecedented. We are not health experts. However, we are business and community leaders, and we all have a role to play in helping one another. Please take this threat very seriously for the benefit of yourself and your loved ones, and please regularly check CDC and WHO websites for updates and greater information.”

As of Saturday night, NBA players Giannis Antetokounmpo, Blake Griffin and Kevin Love are each donating $100,000 to the arena workers employed at the stadiums in which they play. Zion Williamson pledged to cover Smoothie King Center’s arena workers’ pay for the next 30 days.

Here’s an updated list of NBA teams who have officially or reportedly pledged to financially support their hourly arena employees during the league’s current suspension, as compiled by The Action Network’s Matt Moore.

  • Atlanta Hawks
  • Boston Celtics
  • Brooklyn Nets
  • Chicago Bulls
  • Cleveland Cavaliers
  • Dallas Mavericks
  • Detroit Pistons
  • Denver Nuggets
  • Golden State Warriors
  • Houston Rockets
  • Indiana Pacers
  • Los Angeles Clippers
  • Los Angeles Lakers
  • Memphis Grizzlies
  • Miami Heat
  • Milwaukee Bucks
  • New Orleans Pelicans
  • New York Knicks
  • Orlando Magic
  • Philadelphia 76ers
  • Phoenix Suns
  • Portland Trail Blazers
  • Sacramento Kings
  • Toronto Raptors
  • Utah Jazz
  • Washington Wizards

The response from teams to commit to paying their part time and hourly employees following its regular season getting put on hold has been swift and just, and Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban’s declaration that he’d continue to pay Mavericks arena worker’s wages on the night that the league officially suspended its season has had a ripple effect throughout the league.

Let’s hope that after the 30 days are up, part time and hourly workers will continue to see their regular paychecks even if the current NBA/NHL seasons don’t return.

Harrison Wind
Author

Harrison Wind is the Denver Nuggets beat reporter for DNVR Nuggets. The University of Colorado alum grew up in Boulder and has covered the Nuggets for the last three seasons. You can hear him every weekday on the DNVR Nuggets podcast.

  • Just wanted to tell you guys, even thought I don’t comment all that often, I love you guys. Great job with the bar. Even though times are unusually tough, people in Denver need a bar like this!

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