NBA sued for missing rent, argues it doesn't have to pay because business was closed

Making rent during the COVID-19 crisis is a real concern for people around the world.

And the NBA, apparently.

The owners of the New York City building that houses the NBA Store on Fifth Avenue filed a lawsuit against NBA Media Ventures on Wednesday seeking more than $1.25 million in unpaid rent and fees. The NBA failed to pay its monthly rent of $625,000 in March and April, according to the lawsuit that also seeks utility payments and more than $20,000 in attorney fees.

The NBA has held a lease the address since November 2014, according to the suit.

NBA: But we were closed

NBA spokesman Mike Bass told the Associated Press that the league is attempting to work with its landlord to reach an agreement, but argues that it is not obligated to pay rent because the store was shuttered during the COVID-19 shutdown.

“Like other retail stores on Fifth Avenue in New York City, the NBA Store was required to close as a result of the coronavirus pandemic,” Bass said. “Under those circumstances, we don’t believe these claims have any merit.

“We have attempted, and will continue to attempt, to work directly with our landlord to resolve this matter in a manner that is fair to all parties.”

Count the NBA among the pro rent-strike crowd. (John Nacion/Getty Images)

MLB team skipped rent in April

The NBA isn’t the first major sports entity to face a rent dispute during the pandemic. The municipal management of the Oakland Coliseum claimed last week that the A’s failed to make an annual $1.2 million payment due in April.

“They said because they haven’t used it, they were not able to generate revenue and they have no ability to pay,” Coliseum Authority Interim Executive Director Henry Gardner told the Mercury News.

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