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List of unexpected PPP recipients includes pro soccer teams, sports Hall of Fames

July 7, 2020, 1:58 PM UTC

The Seattle Sounders, D.C. United, and Orlando City of Major League Soccer are among the recipients of the Treasury Department’s Paycheck Protection Program, according to data released by the federal government on Monday.

The so-called PPP program was created to extend a lifeline to small businesses and their employees affected by the pandemic, but its recipients have included numerous public companies as well.

According to the data, holding companies of the Seattle and Orlando soccer clubs received between $2 million and $5 million, while that of the Washington, D.C., club obtained between $1 million and $2 million.

Other notable PPP recipients from the sports world include the National Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, N.Y., and the National Football Museum in Canton, Ohio, which houses the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Both institutions reportedly received between $1 million and $2 million.

Another prominent recipient was New York Road Runners, which organizes a series of races in that city, including the famous New York City annual marathon in November. This year’s marathon has been cancelled as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak.

While teams from North America’s four major sports leagues—the NFL, NBA, NHL, and MLB—did not seek PPP funding, several minor league teams did so. These include the minor league baseball affiliates of the Houston Astros, Detroit Tigers, and San Francisco Giants. The three teams, which received between $1 million and $2 million dollars, will not play this year after MLB announced last month it would cancel minor league play.

Under the PPP program, recipients receive loans that can be converted to forgivable grants if the business spends the bulk of the funds on employee salaries. In the case of grants, it is ultimately U.S. taxpayers who pick up the tab.

The data released by the government on Monday only listed organizations that received more than $150,000 under the PPP program. Those businesses amount to less than 15% of the total recipients.

The data is also not entirely reliable as several purported recipients have put out statements saying they did not take PPP money despite being listed in the data set.

An analysis by Fortune also revealed that a high proportion of PPP loans went to businesses in districts, including ones in New York and California, represented by influential members of Congress.

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