While the Sharks' hockey operations have come to a complete halt due to the global coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, the business side is busy as ever, according to team President Jonathan Becher.
Like many companies, one of their biggest struggles and first orders of business was to get all employees connected from home. That Includes setting up weekly Zoom conference calls that feature more than 200 simultaneous guests.
On Monday, NBC Sports California caught up with Becher via FaceTime, around the time the team announced a new plan to support their part-time workers across multiple locations.
On assisting the 1,800 part-time workers at SAP Center:
“Frankly, we’re deep in the community. We care a lot, and know the part-time workers in our building that don’t work as frequently for us. They may only get a couple hours per week from us. And a couple hours per week from somebody else. They are as impacted by this pandemic as anybody else. Not only from a health point of view, but also a financial point as well. We’re announcing a COVID-19 relief fund from Sharks Sports & Entertainment.”
How the fund got started, and is expected to generate at least $600,000:
“Sharks management, ownership, friends of the franchise, players, coaches, all of us have already seeded the fund. And [Sharks owner] Hasso [Plattner] has generously agreed to match whatever money that we get. Last I'd checked, we had already raised $200,000, likely going to raise much more than that.”
On how different Sharks games and other events will likely feel once resumed:
“It seems likely, although not a foregone conclusion there may be something like temperature checks before you can get people into a building again. Not just our building but restaurants, or even movie theaters. Any public gathering. It’s certainly possible that face masks might be required for all fans the beginning. We don’t know that for sure, but it’s likely. We’re still working through what food and beverage might be when you come into a building like ours. If you have to wear a face mask, how do you drink or eat?”
On predicting how technology could aid sports and other businesses:
“In the coming months there may be a digital immunity card, kind of like a drivers license but only the fact that you’ve been exposed to this already. If you’ve got a digital immunity maybe you scan that at the door the same way we scan tickets?”
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How the NHL could return with varying guidelines at arenas across North America:
“It’s certainly possible the guidelines will be different in Santa Clara County than they will be in some other state. When the league re-opens, it may do so with slightly different rules in one building than that are in some other building. It may be that we play a few more games on the road at the beginning of the year for next season, and we don’t open our season at home for 10 days later. The point is, there are so many different potential scenarios out there that, I’ve lost track. We don’t need to know exactly which is going to happen and when. Our goal right now is to build a detailed a plan as we can for each of them. Then when it becomes clear which is the best of them, that’s what we put into operation."