LOS ANGELES (AP) – The Los Angeles Lakers repaid a $ 4.6 million loan from coronavirus aid after learning that the program had been used up.
The Lakers applied for the loan as part of the Small Business Administration’s paycheck protection program, which is part of the federal government’s $ 2.2 trillion stimulus package. The Lakers’ application was approved in the first round of sales, but after the fund ran out of money in less than two weeks, the team returned its loan, as did several wealthier companies, including Shake Shack and AutoNation.
The Lakers issued a statement Monday confirming what had happened.
“The Lakers have qualified for the Payroll Protection Program and received a loan,” the statement said. “However, when we found out that the program had used up the funds, we repaid the loan so that the financial aid could be directed to the most needy. The Lakers are still fully committed to supporting both our employees and our community. “
ESPN first reported on the Lakers’ decision.
The finance department issued further guidelines for the loan program last week and urged companies not to apply for the funds if they did not need the money to survive.
The Lakers qualified for the program because they only have about 300 employees. However, the team is believed to be the NBA’s second most important franchise. Forbes estimates the value at around $ 4 billion.
The 16-time NBA champions play in the second largest media market in the country. Their current squad, led by superstars LeBron James and Antony Davis, was at the top of the Western Conference when the NBA interrupted the game last month.
The Lakers did not leave or lay off employees during the coronavirus pandemic, and the franchise company is not planning any cuts. The team’s top executives agreed to defer 20% of their salaries by the end of this year or early next year.