With most North American sports shut down thanks to the COVID-19 coronavirus, a lot of freelancers and part-time employees who work for sports networks have seen less demand for their services. Many networks have decided to pay those freelancers and employees for at least the next while anyways, but some, like Sinclair, are only offering loans instead. But there seems to be some good news coming for the freelancers and part-time employees who work for MLB Network and NHL Network, with Michael McCarthy of Front Office Sports reporting Friday that those networks’ freelancers and part-time employees are now expected to be given at least some pay through at least the month of April (the networks had previously only committed to paying them through March 28). Here’s more from McCarthy’s piece:
MLB and NHL Network will pay their freelance and part-time employees through the end of April 2020, sources tell Front Office Sports.
The two league-owned sports cable networks notified employees of the extra pay via an internal memo. Previously, MLB and NHL Networks had committed to paying their freelancers through March 28.
The “additional compensation” should help “mitigate the financial disruption” to the workforce caused by the coronavirus pandemic, according to the memo, which was dated April 2.
The decision marks some rare good news for a sports media industry hammered by salary cutbacks, layoffs, and furloughs. The move will impact “hundreds of employees,” including camera operators, video editors and tech support at the network’s Secaucus, N.J. studios, sources said.
As Andrew Marchand of The New York Post tweeted Thursday, though, it sounds like this won’t be full pay:
So, basically if you averaged 40 hours a week at MLBN/NHLN, then cut that down to 20 and times that by your rate and you will get 2 checks of that amount through the month of April.
— Andrew Marchand (@AndrewMarchand) April 2, 2020
But that still seems better than nothing, especially in a time where there’s a lot of uncertainty about accessing unemployment benefits. And it’s good to see MLBN and NHLN offering this for their freelancers and part-time employees, who do a lot of important work for those networks.