SAN FRANCISCO—The Golden State Warriors announced Wednesday, March 11, that they would be playing against the New Jersey Nets at Chase Center the following night without fans present. Fans who purchased tickets for this game will receive refunds.
The statement followed Mayor London Breed’s ban on public gatherings of 1,000 people or more. The decision “is an important step to support public health,” said Breed. “We’re following the recommendations of public health officials to slow the spread of COVID-19 in our community.”
This would have been the first time an American major sports team played a home game without fans present.
Later in the day, the NBA released a statement that they would be “suspending game play following the conclusion of [Wednesday’s] schedule of games until further notice.” The suspension is the result of Utah Jazz player, Rudy Gobert,who tested positive for the Coronavirus.
Before the announcement, Bob Myers, the general manager of the Warriors, told ESPN Wednesday that the team was “somber” following the news they would be playing without fans.
The Warriors later posted on Twitter the following statement:
“With the escalating situation surrounding COVID-19, we find ourselves in a rapidly-changing environment. We completely support the NBA’s decision to suspend our season until further notice. The health and safety of our fans, staff, and players is our top priority.”
Myers told ESPN, “if you’re gonna have empathy, have it for [the low-income wage-earners that count on working our games], not us.”
On Friday, March 13, the Warriors announced ownership, players, and coaches who pledged to donate $1 million to a disaster relief fund to provide assistance to employees impacted by the closure of the facility because of growing concerns of the Coronavirus.
“We are addressing the potential hardships these hard-working individuals may encounter during the hiatus…those who are fortunate enough to be in a position to help, need to help,” said Joe Lacob, Warriors Co-Excecutive Chairman and CEO.
Stephen Curry wants to “help ease the pain” of the more than 1,000 part-time employees “who work our games as the Chase Center [they] are critical in providing an incredible game-night experience for our fans.”
It is unclear when the NBA season will resume.