Minnesota sports franchises support employees during virus-delayed seasons

Sports franchises in Minnesota have stepped up to support their employees as the spread of the novel coronavirus has left many of them without work.

On Tuesday, the Twins, Timberwolves, Lynx and Wild all announced financial support for their employees affected by their suspended seasons.

The Twins said it committed $1 million to support affected employees, something all 30 MLB teams pledged Tuesday.

"The Twins family extends beyond our players and staff, and includes all those who help make Target Field the best experience in baseball. To help those in our family most affected in these challenging and uncertain times, we are pledging at least $1 million to support our gameday staff," the team said in a statement.

Glen Taylor, owner of the Timberwolves and Lynx, said up to $1 million will be donated in a relief fund for part-time gameday staff at Target Center.

"Our people who work hard to make the Target Center experience memorable for fans are the backbone of what we do. From the people who show fans to their seats, to the greeters at the entrance, I want to do my part to alleviate the financial concern that comes from missing games due to this national pandemic," said Taylor. "We will get through this hard time together and look forward to the day when our players, fans and staff are reunited again at Target Center."

The Wild said it will pay its part-time employees for the final six games of the season they would’ve worked had the NHL season not been suspended. The team and Xcel Energy Center also announced the donation of more than 2,400 pounds of perishable food items to local charities.

"This is an extremely difficult period of time for everyone," said Minnesota Wild owner Craig Leipold. "I am very thankful for everything these part-time employees do for our organization and for our guests. I also want to say thank you to our Wild players, many of whom reached out during this process and all of whom are contributing to these efforts."

Minnesota United FC, whose season is also suspended, said Wednesday that it, along with Delaware North, donated 2,000 pounds of food to Aliveness Project and Second Harvest Heartland of Minnesota.

"While we missed serving our friends and fans at Allianz Field’s scheduled opener on March 15, we’re proud that the prep and energy committed to getting the building ready will positively impact our greater Twin Cities community," the franchise said.

The MLB, MLS, NHL and NBA seasons have all been suspended indefinitely. With the NHL and NBA nearing the end of their seasons, it’s still unclear if their seasons could continue at any point in the future while MLB has already pushed Opening Day back "at least" two weeks.