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More MLB Teams Announce Plans to Aid Game-Day Employees

Toronto Blue JaysMore MLB teams have announced plans to aid game-day employees for the near term, as the sport continues to implement plans to address a shutdown caused by the novel coronavirus pandemic in the United States and Canada.

The Toronto Blue Jays and President & CEO Mark Shapiro is part of the Team Toronto fund, where execs from the Toronto Raptors, Toronto FC, Toronto Argonauts and the Toronto Maple Leafs have teamed up and are personally contributing and leading the charge for their clubs to create a special assistance fund to further assist arena/stadium and support staff for their respective organizations should they be in need of extra financial assistance while MLB, MLS, NBA and NHL are all on hold.

“As the entire world grapples with the challenging effects of COVID-19, our Toronto sports community must band together and support each other,” Shapiro said. “No matter the outcome of the game, our staff are often the people Toronto fans remember most about their trip to the ballpark, field, or arena – for their smiles, helping hands, and passion. It is an honor to join my counterparts and exceptional sports leaders in our city to help make a meaningful impact on the lives of all our game day staff.”

In Detroit, Ilitch Holdings has set up a $1 million fund to cover one month’s wages for part-time staff for games, concerts, and events that they would have otherwise worked were it not for the recent cancellations and postponements caused by the coronavirus crisis. In other words, if they were scheduled to work at an event that has been cancelled in the next month, they will be paid. Where there are opportunities, arena staff will be moved into other roles.

Ilitch Holdings owns the Detroit Red Wings, Detroit Tigers, 313 Presents, Fox Theatre and Little Caesars Arena.

This fund will cover part-time  employee wages for the Red Wings four home games that were paused; Detroit Pistons eight home games that were suspended; and for the Detroit Tigers six spring training games that were cancelled at Publix Field at Joker Merchant Stadium in Lakeland, Florida.

The Baltimore Orioles, meanwhile, have not decided whether to pay game-day staff who are missing shifts for the games canceled in spring training or at the beginning of the 2020 regular season at Oriole Park.

“Just as government agencies and private businesses are grappling with the same circumstances, we have to determine solutions to a myriad of matters over an extended period of time as this public health situation — one unique and unprecedented in our lifetimes — unfolds,” Jennifer Grondahl, the Orioles’ senior vice president for community development and communications, said in a statement. “At the very outset of what may be an extended period of disrupted life, we will make decisions as soon as possible.”

The Orioles canceled eight home games in spring training. The team is scheduled to play 80 home games at Oriole Park while also “hosting” a Little League World Series exhibition game in Williamsport.

Earlier today we covered other efforts to aid game-day employees, including donations from players and a GoFundMe set up by Trevor Bauer.

With hourly news about the spread of the coronavirus impacting the sports-business and facilities industries, it’s more important than ever to stay up with the latest news in the venues industry. That’s why we’re launching a new Venues Digest newsletter focusing on coronavirus information across the ballparks, arenas, stadiums, theater and performing-arts worlds. For now it will appear daily, and for now it will be free of charge. Sign up here.

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