Athletes team up to raise money for people affected by coronavirus

Key Points
  • Top athletes are helping to raise money for COVID-19 relief
  • Sports agency Octagon has launched a fundraising tool called Athletes for Relief 
  • NBA stars are also giving back to their local communities and helping arena workers 
More than 60 athletes are helping to raise money for COVID-19 relief.
Source: Octagon

The biggest names in sports are coming together to raise money and awareness for COVID-19 relief. Sports agency Octagon has launched a fundraising tool Athletes for Relief to provide a place for all athletes to help support those most in need. 

"Many athletes were asking for a place to do more in addition to personal private donations they are each doing, so we really just wanted to create a platform for all athletes to participate, give, share...raise money and most importantly, provide relief," said David Schwab, executive-vice president at Octagon.   

Athletes and coaches from a dozen different sports are participating, including Stephen Curry, Shaun White, Sir Nick Faldo, Michael Phelps, Jimmie Johnson, David Ortiz and Simone Biles. The athletes are raising money for The Center for Disaster Philanthropy and fans who donate are eligible to win an item signed by the athlete.

"My thoughts are with every single person and business affected right now. I hope we work together to help where we can," former Red Sox star David Ortiz tells CNBC in an email. 

Big Papi is doing his part to raise money for Athletes for Relief. Anyone who donates $25 or more will be entered to win a signed jersey. 

2019 WNBA MVP,  Elena Delle Donne says every bit helps. 

"There are so many things people can do to support those affected right now. Big or small, every donation or act of service goes a long way," she added. 

Octagon is opening up the fundraising platform to any athlete who wants to participate, even outside of their agency.

The goal is to involve all athletes, Schwab says. "This is so much bigger than all of us." 

Other athletes are stepping up in their local communities to help arena workers who would otherwise be out of a paycheck as sports have ground to halt. 

Kevin Love, who has been an advocate for mental health, announced on Thursday that he is donating $100,000 to help with the fear and anxiety resulting from the pandemic. 

"Everyone reacts differently to stressful situations. And the fear and anxiety resulting from the recent outbreak of COVID-19 can be extremely overwhelming," he posted on his Instagram account. "Be kind to one another. Be understanding of their fears, regardless if you don't feel the same." 

Milwaukee Bucks MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo pledged $100,000 to help compensate Fiserv Forum staff. Shortly after, his teammate Khris Middleton announced he would be matching that donation. 

Giannis Tweet

The Bucks later tweeted that their entire roster is making donations to affected workers,and the Bucks will match any donations to ensure that all part-time employees will be paid for any missed games over the next 30 days. The Bucks say every team member has already made a donation. 

Bucks Tweet

"We want everyone to know that if you are working with us, we have your back. We want to make sure you are able to get through this unprecedented time," Alex Lasry, senior vice president of the Milwaukee Bucks tells CNBC. 

On Saturday, New Orleans Pelicans rookie standout Zion Williamson announced on social media that he would be covering the salaries for New Orleans arena workers for 30 days. 

"This is a small way for me to express my support and appreciation for these wonderful people who have been so great to me and my teammates and hopefully we can all join together to relieve some of the stress and hardship caused by this national health crisis." 

In addition to the many players pledging to help workers, the majority of NBA teams have also announced they are trying to help venue workers during this difficult time. 

"These are guys who spend a majority of their lives in the arena...They are co-workers. Whether you are playing, or a concessionaire, you are a co-worker and part of the same family," Lasry said.