Yesterday, we learned of the first official financial ripple effects for the Sixers organization in the wake of the NBA’s shutdown due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Per Marc Stein of the New York Times, and later confirmed by PhillyVoice staff writer Kyle Neubeck, the franchise will be reducing salaries by 20 percent for employees making more than $50k, starting April 15 through the end of the fiscal year on June 30.
Sixers and Devils at-will employees were informed today that temporary salary reductions of up to 20 percent will be instituted for employees making more than $50,000 starting April 15 through the end of June, @NYTSports has learned— Marc Stein (@TheSteinLine) March 23, 2020
The Sixers and Devils consider this a temporary measure aimed at avoiding layoffs and, according to the person, have not reduced any health or 401K benefits for the teams' employees. It was not immediately known if any other NBA teams have instituted a similar program— Marc Stein (@TheSteinLine) March 23, 2020
O'Neil, Sixers GM Elton Brand and the team president for both franchises -- Chris Heck of the Sixers and Jake Reynolds of the Devils -- are four prominent employees under contract who were not required to but did consent to salary reductions, as @NYTSports previously reported— Marc Stein (@TheSteinLine) March 24, 2020
Sixers CEO Scott O’Neil provided the following statement in the wake of the report:
The Sixers just provided a statement from HBSE CEO Scott O'Neil on the salary-reduction decision: https://t.co/fAAKd2RvPE pic.twitter.com/8U4e6N5f5b— Kyle Neubeck (@KyleNeubeck) March 24, 2020
First, let’s reiterate that “employees” doesn’t cover NBA players — we are still awaiting news on a decision regarding their salaries starting April 15 from the league — but people in operations, sales, marketing, etc. I recognize these are challenging times for everybody, and there are certainly good points to the organization’s plan. Salary reduction doesn’t apply to folks making less than $50k per year, so those people most reliant on receiving full pay aren’t affected. Health and benefits aren’t touched, which is critical in the midst of a health crisis. Organizational leadership also fairly included themselves in the reduction, although there’s obviously a big difference in “only getting by” on 80 percent of salary when you’re making, say, $60k per year versus hundreds of thousands of dollars.
Still, does it look great for the organization from a public relations standpoint? No, it does not. I guess we’ll have to wait and see the plans moving forward for other franchises as this crisis continues to see where the Sixers’ plan falls on the spectrum of responses. I sure do miss having new basketball games to watch and discuss.