As games across all major American sports leagues have been postponed or canceled during the pandemic, one of the prevalent story lines was how hourly workers at stadiums would be affected.
Rocky Wirtz and Jerry Reinsdorf stepped up to pay hourly United Center employees while both the Bulls and Blackhawks are out of action. Wirtz talked about that decision Monday morning on the Mully and Haugh Show on 670 The Score.
He said the decision to pay what amounted to about $3.5 million between the two owners was a quick one.
“We had a whole group on the phone of all the folks, Jerry was one of them, on Friday,” Wirtz said. “He called about 12 noon on Saturday. He said ‘This is crazy.’ He said ‘I just needed to know the figures.’ He said, ‘You and I can make a decision.’ I said ‘Absolutely, I can.’”
The Bulls and Blackhawks each had seven home games left on the schedule so it was paid as an even split.
“He said ‘We gotta take care of these people,’” Wirtz said. “I said ‘Absolutely, let’s get ahead of it and calm everyone down and have complete empathy.’ The people are going from paycheck to paycheck and they’re scared, rightfully so. Jerry is such a class act. It took like two minutes.”
Wirtz went on to praise United Center employees, saying they go out of their way to help fans at the games and events.
“Our job is to make everyone that goes through that turnstyle feel special,” Wirtz said. “We can’t control what goes on on the court or the ice, but we can control the fan experience and that’s something that those folks make us look really good when they do that.”Click here to download the new MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream the Blackhawks easily on your device.