The Los Angeles Lakers said they have returned a loan of $4.6 million from the Small Business Administration under the federal Paycheck Protection Program, which is intended to help smaller firms avoid layoffs.
“The Lakers qualified for and received a loan under the Payroll Protection Program,” the Lakers said in a statement to ESPN. “Once we found out the funds from the program had been depleted, we repaid the loan so that financial support would be directed to those most in need. The Lakers remain completely committed to supporting both our employees and our community.”
The 16-time NBA champions have approximately 300 employees, which makes them eligible for the loan. Per the terms of the loan, it is forgiven if companies spend 75% of the disbursement on payroll and do not lay off any staff. To apply for the loan, a company needs to have less than 500 employees, a number that the vast majority of professional teams fall well under.
The initial $349 billion allotment for the PPP was exhausted in two weeks as millions of companies, including many publicly traded firms and national chains, applied for the funds. Some, including Shake Shack, Ruth’s Chris Steak House, and the Potbelly sandwich chain, have since returned the money after news outlets reported that they have received them.