For Sports Halted at the Outbreak’s Onset, Loans Saved Staff

Tom Brady’s company got one. Mayweather Promotions, the advertising agency founded by the boxing champion Floyd Mayweather, did too. And the Los Angeles Lakers, the eighth-richest sports franchise in the world, got one[1] before returning it.

They were beneficiaries of the loans from the federal Paycheck Protection Program created to provide relief for struggling businesses in the pandemic.

The Trump administration last week released the names[2] of companies that received small-business loans of more than $150,000 after pressure from Congress to detail the receivers of loans. Among the sports enterprises benefiting from the program were Major League Soccer teams, including Orlando, Miami, Seattle and D.C., as well as the National Women’s Soccer League[3], Major League Rugby, the Women’s Football League Association and teams in Minor League Baseball.

Big sports franchises may have gotten the most public attention, but they weren’t the only benefactors. Businesses like Dynamic Gymnastics, a gym outside Arlington, Va., remained afloat through the coronavirus pandemic because of a $179,905 loan secured through the program.

The gym’s income plunged 90 percent in the three months leading up to its reopening in mid-June, with instructors offering “home-nastic” programs over Zoom to try to salvage some of that business, said the facility’s founder and owner, Kelly Bingel.

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Paycheck Protection Program funds kept staff members on payroll throughout the closure and helped pay for two months’ rent at the gym’s two facilities, helping the company get started in June once Virginia allowed facilities to reopen.

Here’s a look at who some of the other recipients were:

A $350,000 loan allowed the National Skeet Shooting Association to continue to pay the 34 members of its national staff office throughout the pandemic and made it possible for members to work from home effectively. Skeet shooting, which has about 40,000 participants worldwide, is competitive and requires travel, according to Michael Hampton, the nonprofit’s executive director.

Losing 30 percent to 45 percent of participation in tournaments across the country, plus the cancellation of some events that normally draw more than 700 participants, was bruising for the association. But the losses did bring in some new shooters.

“An interesting and positive thing that this has done is gathered more participation from people in communities,” Mr. Hampton said. “They are going out because it’s a recreation that they can still do, and more people are going to those local events.”

The association is one of five major national federations receiving more than $150,000 in program funds. (The others are the United States Ski Association, the U.S. Figure Skating Association, the National Association of Competitive Soccer Clubs and the U.S. Equestrian Team Foundation.)

Newer leagues also received funding, including the Premier Lacrosse League, founded in 2018 and based in El Segundo, Calif. After procuring at least $1 million in funds, the league will hold its season from July 25 to Aug. 9 at Zions Bank Stadium in Herriman, Utah.

The BIG3 basketball league, founded in 2017 by the musician Ice Cube and Jeff Kwatinetz, an entertainment executive, received $900,000 to pay coaches and players. It had originally gotten $1.6 million but it returned $700,000.

E-sports also benefited. Envy Gaming, one of several gaming companies to have received more than $150,000, was able to keep paying its staff after business dried up. The organization, founded in 2007 as a professional Call of Duty team, canceled six of seven multiday events in its northern Texas home base before e-sports moved entirely online.

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Credit…Alyssa Schukar for The New York Times

Carolina FC, a youth soccer organization, received a multimillion-dollar loan that helped keep full-time coaches employed.

Now that South Carolina has reopened, the organization based in Spartanburg has many of its more than 300 competitive members playing again.

The organization’s executive director, Rafe Mauran, said, “South Carolina went basically back to normal — not saying that’s a good or bad thing, necessarily — but we’ve been really lucky, the kids have been in contact in games and we haven’t had any cases.

Among the national organizations taking in upward of a million dollars in funding were the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics, the National Football Foundation and College Football Hall of Fame, and the Babe Ruth League for youth baseball and softball.

References

  1. ^ got one (www.nytimes.com)
  2. ^ released the names (www.nytimes.com)
  3. ^ National Women’s Soccer League (www.nytimes.com)
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