More than two weeks into a season playing without fans at home games, the Warriors laid off 9% of their business-side staff, a team source confirmed Friday to the Bay Area News Group.
No one in basketball operations was affected. Thirty-nine full-time workers lost their jobs Thursday and four others were furloughed, mostly in the departments of ticket sales and game presentation.
Before the layoffs, the Warriors were one of the few NBA franchises yet to lay off full-time employees amid the coronavirus pandemic. In March, more than 1,700 part-time event staffers lost their jobs.
“As an organization, we emphasize the strength in numbers approach and deeply appreciate and value the contributions that every single employee has had on our success,” the Warriors said in a statement to the Bay Area News Group. “Unfortunately, due to the unprecedented ramifications and challenges the on-going pandemic has had on our business and the uncertainly of what the future holds, we communicated to our workforce yesterday that our full-time business operation employee base would be reduced by approximately 10 %. ”
Like the Warriors, a franchise valued by Forbes at $ 4.3 billion, organizations across the NBA and professional sports are grappling with the financial fallout from the pandemic.
A majority of Golden State’s revenue comes from ticket sales, and if the team goes the rest of the 36-game regular-season home schedule without fans at Chase Center, it will lose much more in potential revenue. This is why the Warriors submitted a plan to the city to host more than 9,000 spectators at games amidst the pandemic this season, but that plan was rejected by San Francisco’s Department of Public Health.
While the layoffs impacted those whose jobs rely on in-game operations, the Warriors have remained committed to spending big in order to bounce back from a 15-win season. With more than $ 172 million committed in player salaries and a luxury-tax bill likely more than $ 200 million, the Warriors have the largest payroll in NBA history.
The league’s new collective bargaining agreement could provide some financial relief at the end of the season, as luxury tax bills for teams will be reduced by the same percentage amount lost by the league.
“In an effort to assist those impacted in this streamlining approach, we will extend healthcare benefits, provide severance and offer outplacement services,” the Warriors said in their statement. “We hoped this day would never come and tried everything in our creative powers to avoid it.”
The Athletic was first to report the news of the layoffs.