It is an especially precarious environment for non-salaried workers in industries across America right now as swaths of the economy are shut down for coronavirus concerns. In sports media, we reported that The Athletic has frozen freelancers pending the return of live sports. Today, the Detroit Free Press reported that production freelancers who work on Tigers, Red Wings, and Pistons games for Sinclair-owned Fox Sports Detroit are not getting financial support or clarity from the company.
Brian Anderson, who calls Brewers games for Fox Sports Wisconsin in addition to his national work for CBS, Turner, and Fox, shared the story and implored the company to take better care of these workers:
Even with his national assignments and general talent and stature in the industry providing somewhat of a cushion, this is a brave public stance from Anderson. Sinclair's Fox Sports RSNs, purchased relatively recently after the government forbade their sale to Disney as part of the larger Fox/Disney asset transfer, have about half of the regional rights in the MLB and NBA.
CBS and Turner Sports are paying their freelancers for what should have been work for the NCAA Tournament. The Free Press story explores several ways that Sinclair could work with the freelancers to make them whole, including paying them now and, if games don't get rescheduled, using that payment as bank for future assignments.