A memo to NASCAR employees obtained by the Associated Press said that all executives and track presidents would take a 25 percent pay cut while all other employees would see their pay reduced by 20 percent. NASCAR hasn’t raced since March 8 at Phoenix and has said that the Cup Series won’t race again until May 9 at Martinsville Speedway at the earliest.
“With the temporary postponement of our season and the impact of the coronavirus is having on every part of our business, we will have to adjust our operations in several significant ways,” Phelps wrote. “We are trying to minimize expenses until we can get back to doing what we do best — holding great race events for our fans.”
“These decisions are difficult but necessary for the health of our company as we work through this crisis and address the long-term business needs of our sport,” he added.
Unlike other sports leagues, NASCAR has publicly pledged that it wants to make up every postponed race on its schedule. Seven Cup Series races are — as of now — postponed and would need to be made up. With a two-week Olympic break over the summer not needed following Tuesday’s postponement, it seems possible that NASCAR would be able to get close to a full schedule completed if the season does resume on May 9.
That pledge to run a full season also makes it seem a bit premature that a multi-billion dollar company would move so hastily to reduce employees’ salaries. NASCAR is not the small business around the corner from your house that’s been devastated by the pandemic. The sanctioning body is currently in the midst of a multi-billion dollar TV contract that sees Fox and NBC pay NASCAR and its tracks and teams hundreds of millions of dollars per year.
NASCAR also recently purchased former sister company International Speedway Corporation for $2 billion a year ago. Will it bump employee salaries back up if and when the season resumes and will those employees get their lost pay back if the full Cup, Xfinity and Truck Series seasons are completed?
While NASCAR employees are taking pay cuts, things could end up being worse for those who work at teams, especially those without vast financial resources. Smaller NASCAR teams at all three national levels are facing the prospect of further financial inviability without races to run. The NASCAR ecosystem entered the 2020 season as a fragile one and the coronavirus pandemic will undoubtedly expose just how serious those fragilities are.
76ers reversed course on pay cuts for employees after backlash
NASCAR’s memo to its employees that it was cutting their salaries comes a day after the Philadelphia 76ers went back on a decision to cut employee salaries after public backlash.
Harris Blitzer Sports & Entertainment attempted to cut its employees’ salaries by up to 20 percent on Monday and quickly decided that wasn’t a good idea.
“After listening to our staff and players, it’s clear that was the wrong decision,” 76ers principal owner Josh Harris told ESPN. “We have reversed it and will be paying these employees their full salaries. This is an extraordinary time in our world — unlike any most of us have ever lived through before — and ordinary business decisions are not enough to meet the moment. To our staff and fans, I apologize for getting this wrong.”
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Nick Bromberg is a writer for Yahoo Sports.
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