The Los Angeles Lakers have returned the $4.6 million loan that it received through the federal Paycheck Protection Program, a spokesperson for the team confirmed to TheWrap.
“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 team said in a statement to TheWrap. “The Lakers remain completely committed to supporting both our employees and our community.”
The Paycheck Protection Program was first created as part of the $2 trillion CARES Act passed by Congress in late March, which allocated about $350 billion for small businesses with under 500 employees seeking loans. But given the demand, the program quickly ran out of funding shortly after its initial launch and has since received a $321 billion boost in funding.
The Lakers were eligible for the loan since the team employs about 300 people. But with a valuation of about $4.4 billion, the Lakers are also the second most-profitable franchise in the NBA, according to Forbes. Earlier this month, the team’s top executives were asked to voluntarily defer 20% of their pay and the team has promised not to lay off or furlough any of its employees, according to ESPN.
Other wealthy companies that received loans through the program — like Shake Shack, Ruth’s Chris Steak House and Potbelly Sandwich Shop — have also returned their funding after facing widespread backlash.