Stock car racing series Nascar has become the latest major sports organization in the United States to impose temporary pay cuts due to the global Covid-19 pandemic.
Nascar follows in the footsteps of the National Hockey League, which is temporarily cutting the pay of league office employees who make more than $75,000 a year by 25 per cent starting April 1.
In a similar move, PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan has decided to indefinitely forgo his salary during the ongoing health crisis. Elsewhere, senior Tour executives have agreed to take to salary cuts, while wages for all other Tour employees will be frozen at 2019 levels.
Harris Blitzer Sports & Entertainment, the managing company of the National Basketball Association’s Philadelphia 76ers and NHL’s New Jersey Devils, announced temporary pay cuts before pulling the initiative within 24 hours amid a major public backlash.
According to the Associated Press, Nascar executives – including the presidents of Nascar-owned tracks – will have a temporary 25-per-cent reduction in salary, while all other employees will have their wages reduced by 20 per cent until racing resumes. Employees were also told to use one week of vacation over the next five weeks.
“With the temporary postponement of our season and the impact the coronavirus is having on every part of our business, we will have to adjust our operations in several significant ways,” Nascar president Steve Phelps told staff in a memo. “We are trying to minimize expenses until we can get back to doing what we do best — holding great race events for our fans.”
Phelps added: “These decisions are difficult but necessary for the health of our company as we work through this crisis and address the long-term business needs of our sport.”
In the past two weeks, Nascar has created the eNascar iRacing Pro Invitational Series in partnership with Nascar’s long-standing esports partner iRacing, a leading motorsport simulation platform. It replaces at least seven real-world competitions on the race calendar that have been suspended due to the global Covid-19 pandemic.
Fox Sports has reached an agreement to broadcast the remainder of the competition on the main Fox network (though this is subject to change), cable network FS1, and the Fox Sports app.