Layoffs hit Pacers Sports & Entertainment
Without live events, about 16 percent of staffers were laid off on Friday.
The lack of live, fully-attended events has negatively impacted sports and entertainment companies across the country, and Indianapolis is no exception. Amid COVID-19, Pacers Sports & Entertainment (PS&E) had layoffs on Friday, according to league sources.
The cuts impact about 16 percent of the workforce, per Mickey Shuey of the IBJ. PS&E is the parent company that owns the Pacers, Fever, Fort Wayne Mad Ants, Pacers Gaming and Pacers Foundation.
The staff directory, which was most recently updated on April 20, was scrubbed from BankersLifeFieldhouse.com. There were just over 300 full-time employees on the latest listing, so 16 percent is roughly 50 employees losing their jobs.
The last event at Bankers Life Fieldhouse was on March 11, the first day of the men’s Big Ten basketball tournament. Phase One (of three) of renovations at The Fieldhouse is ongoing, perhaps even a bit ahead of schedule, I’m told.
As I’ve previously reported, part-time employees who were scheduled to work the Big Ten Tournament were paid out, as were those scheduled for Pacers and Mad Ants games that were not played.
Meanwhile, the Pacers resume their season Saturday evening against the Philadelphia 76ers. There are 36 staff members, including players and coaches, inside the NBA bubble in Florida.
The Pacers are valued by Forbes at $1.525 billion, up nine percent over the last year. The valuation ranks 22nd in the 30-team league — just ahead of the Atlanta Hawks, Cleveland Cavaliers and Charlotte Hornets.
PS&E owner Herb Simon is the NBA’s longest-tenured owner. And his company, Simon Property Group, has taken a hit due to COVID-19. Its stock is down $49.09 ($111.44 to $62.35) per share since March 10 — when the Pacers last played at home and in front of 17,503 fans.
Without sports, concerts and other sizable events, there are no tickets to sell and no clients to entertain.
The Pacers aren’t the only team making cuts. The Orlando Magic laid off 31 full-time employees two weeks ago and the Minnesota Timberwolves, which are for sale, laid off 18 employees in June and instituted pay cuts.
Unfortunately, more layoffs in sports appear inevitable until the United States gets a handle on the coronavirus and fully-attended events can return.