Sports leagues, teams and businesses owned by prominent athletes received loans through the Paycheck Protection Program, which was implemented by the U.S. government to help small businesses during the novel coronavirus pandemic. The Small Business Administration and the Treasury Department disclosed loan data showing 660,000 loans on Monday, including the names of 660,000 businesses and nonprofit organizations that received at least $150,000 in funding.
While none of the four major U.S. sports leagues received loans, numerous other sports-related businesses appeared on the list. Five MLS clubs, many national governing bodies for Olympic sports, and businesses founded by NFL quarterback Tom Brady and former professional boxer Floyd Mayweather were approved for loans through one of the largest economic stimulus packages created by the federal government.
Brady's TB12, a health and wellness company co-founded by the six-time Super Bowl-winning quarterback, received between $350,000 and $1 million. The self-reported data did not include the number of jobs that the loan saved. Mayweather Promotions, founded in 2007 by the 12-time world champion, received a loan in the same range, which supported 15 jobs, the firm reported.
Rapper Ice Cube co-founded Big3, a three-on-three professional basketball league that canceled this summer's season because of the coronavirus. The business received a $1.6 million loan and returned $700,000, a company spokesman said. (Other companies could have returned all or part of their loan, which might not be reflected in the released data.)
Other businesses tied to prominent sports figures received loans between $150,000 and $350,000, including Ripken Baseball, the business of former Orioles player Cal Ripken Jr., and Coach O Tiger Football Camps, which are held at Louisiana State University and were canceled this summer.
The federal government released loan amounts in ranges, and the data includes only active loans, which are part of the $2 trillion Cares Act. The recipient businesses applied and self-certified that they were eligible. The loans are made by third-party lenders and guaranteed by the Small Business Administration. They can be forgiven if companies and nonprofits prove that about 70% of the money helped save jobs.
The National Women's Soccer League received a loan of between $1 million and $2 million. The nine-team league was the first U.S. team sports league to return to competition this summer with its month-long Challenge Cup in suburban Salt Lake City, which ends July 26.
"Our sole intent in applying for the P.P.P. loan was to continue player compensation," NWSL Commissioner Lisa Baird told The New York Times. "With ours, the calculus was pretty simple. Either you're going to pay your players or you're going to furlough them. What could we do?"
OL Reign, the NWSL club based in Tacoma, Wash., received a loan for between $150,000 and $350,000. Carolina FC, the group that owns NWSL and USL teams near Raleigh, received between $2 million and $5 million.
Five MLS clubs — Seattle Sounders, Orlando City, Philadelphia Union, Inter Miami and D.C. United — received loans. The groups that own Orlando City and the Seattle Sounders received between $2 million and $5 million, while the others were approved for loans between $1 million and $2 million.
Smaller leagues, such as the Premier Lacrosse League and Major League Rugby, also received loans.
The Los Angeles Lakers, valued at $3.7 billion, applied for and received one of these loans, but the organization returned the roughly $4.6 million it received amid news that the lending program had run out of money. The U.S. Soccer Federation also returned the loan it received. The organization had laid off and furloughed 50 staffers, according to ESPN, so the USSF would have had to repay the loan, assuming those positions were not refilled.
At least a dozen national governing bodies received loans, including the United States Ski Association and USA Hockey, which got payments in the $2 million-$5 million range. Governing bodies for cycling, swimming and volleyball ($1 million-$2 million), as well as gymnastics, basketball, figure skating and wrestling ($350,000-$1 million) were among the others included. The Associated Press reported in May that at least 70% of U.S. Olympic sports organizations applied for government assistance through the program.
The New York Racing Association, a nonprofit that operates horse-racing tracks, and Richard Childress Racing, one of the largest organizations in NASCAR competition, each received loans between $5 million and $10 million, which was the highest range listed in the data. Many NASCAR and IndyCar teams, as well as raceways, were approved for loans, including Roush Fenway Racing, Chip Ganassi Racing, Jeff Gordon Inc. and Kyle Busch Motorsports.
College conferences received loans, including Conference USA, the Mountain West Conference and the Sun Belt Conference. The Pasadena Tournament of Roses Association, the nonprofit that holds the Rose Bowl, received a loan of between $350,000 and $1 million. The groups that run the Holiday Bowl and the Sugar Bowl received between $150,000 and $350,000.
The Ole Miss Athletics Foundation received between $350,000 and $1 million, and the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) received a loan in the same range. The National Football Foundation and College Hall of Fame, a nonprofit, was approved for a loan.
Numerous Minor League Baseball teams were among the millions of businesses that received aid. Last week, Minor League Baseball canceled its 2020 season, which had been delayed by nearly three months. Other teams in smaller leagues, as well as many youth clubs, also were approved for loans.