The sports business—from athletic conferences to teams to player marketing arms—may have received as much as $2.1 billion in government loans through the Payroll Protection Program.
A Sportico analysis of 661,218 PPP loans greater than $150,000 found that the industry took a minimum of $844 million in loans and could have received as much as $2.14 billion. The data, released Monday by the Small Business Administration, provides loan information in ranges rather than specific amounts. Sportico examined bank-reported industry codes included with loan data to identify sports industry recipients. In some sectors, such as agents and governing bodies, non-sports industry participants were excluded from the tally.
On Tuesday, Sportico’s first glance at the data showed that a number of high-profile names received the pandemic-related loans, including Tom Brady, for his TB12 brand company, and superagent Scott Boras. The loans are intended to allow employers to retain employees on the payroll and are forgivable by the federal government up to the full amount, depending on employee retention, company expenses and other allowances. The data includes only initial loan amounts disbursed. That means it doesn’t include money returned or repaid by recipients to the government. The Big3, a basketball league co-founded by Ice Cube and Jeff Kwatinetz, received $1.6 million in the program but told Sportico they later returned $700,000, for example.
The complete analysis shows PPP loans were taken by 14 collegiate athletic conferences, including the Big East (a loan of $350,000 to $1 million), the Atlantic 10 ($150,000-$350,000) and Mountain West ($150,000-$350,000). Tigers Unlimited, a non-profit foundation that supports the University of Auburn athletic department took a loan of $350,000 to $1 million, while the Air Force Academy Athletic Corporation, also a non-profit, which sponsors sports at the federally funded military school, received a loan between $1 million and $2 million.
Other sports notables whose organizations received loans were RCR Enterprises, the NASCAR team owned by Richard Childress, which received a loan of $5 to $10 million (Childress’ winery also received a loan); Andretti Motorsports Holding Co., a racing team helmed by retired CART racing legend Michael Andretti, which took a $2.5 million to $5 million loan; and Agassi Enterprises, which obtained funding of $150,000 to $350,000 for the business efforts of retired tennis star Andre Agassi.
At least 2,350 sports entities took PPP loans. JPMorgan Chase originated 144 of the loans to sports groups, the most of any bank, followed by Bank of America, with 102.