The Wild, which has had its season put on pause since March 12, said there will be furloughs for some employees and reduced hours for others beginning Saturday. It’s the first pro sports team in the Twin Cities to institute furloughs; the number of employees put on hiatus was not disclosed.
The Wild has qualified for the 24-team NHL postseason tournament, which could start in late July and early August pending an agreement between the league and the NHL Players Association. Training camps could open as early as July 10. The tournament, which leads to a 16-team Stanley Cup playoffs, would be played at two undermined hubs with no fans in the stands.
The Wild issued a statement, saying it “is making the difficult decision to reduce hours for some employees and temporarily furlough other employees starting on June 20 due to the revenue impacts COVID-19 has had on our business. We regret the impact this situation has caused our team and community, and we look forward to bringing our full team and the NHL’s best fans back together again as soon as it is safe to do so.”
Other NHL teams, including Wild rivals Chicago, St. Louis and Dallas, also have furloughed employees.
The Twins announced last month all full-time employees would be paid through at least June 30. United players are taking a 5% salary reduction as part of the MLS’ agreement to restart. The Vikings, Timberwolves and Lynx have not furloughed employees, according to the teams.
NHL budgets are squeezed thanks to a relative lack of national TV money. The league’s contract with NBC and NBC Sportsnet is worth $200 million per season. As a comparison, the NBA’s national TV contract is $2.7 billion per season.