INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. — The wave of cancellations, and their impact on Indianapolis’ economy, continues to roll in.
Less than a day after the NBA announced the Indiana Pacers
were done for the season, the Big 10 Basketball Championships in Indianapolis
and a major volleyball tournament have been cancelled.
Outside Bankers Life Fieldhouse, one player’s mother posed
for photographs minutes before the Big 10 announced its tournament was off.
“This is so crazy. I want to say it’s an overreaction but again you have to go with it for the safety of everyone. It’s health,” said Linda Calella. “I do feel bad for the other fans though. You do take time off work, traveling, expenses, and then you find out you can’t get into the game, it’s tough.”
Iowa Hawkeyes play-by-play announcer Gary Dolphin was
tweeting out a photograph of an empty fieldhouse devoid of fans as players for
Rutgers and Michigan left the court following warm ups before the tournament’s
opening game when he heard a public address announcement.
“I get done with my tweet and I hear the words, ‘All games
cancelled,’ and I asked the security standing right in front of me, ‘Did I hear
that correctly?’, and he said, ‘Yes, we need you to get off the floor.’”
Dolphin said he was not surprised.
“To me, when the NBA announced the suspension of its season
last night, you could almost predict the dominoes were gonna fall to what we
Wolverines fans had already relocated to O’Reilly’s Irish
Pub & Restaurant across the street from the empty Fieldhouse to watch U of
M on the Big 10 Network when they received the word that the tournament was
“I’m devastated,” said Nefataria Gordon who turned in a
courtside seat for a barstool. “They could just play. Let them play.”
Pat Conway traveled from San Diego for the opening games of
the tournament and ruminated on whether the Big 10 made the right call.
“They probably did,” he said. “You can only take ignorance so far. I really wanted to go, but what can you do?”
O’Reilly’s Owner Joel Reitz was still busy behind the bar
serving basketball fans while he was processing the news that Indianapolis’
downtown St. Patrick’s Day Parade had also been called off.
“I’m expecting big crowds for St. Patrick’s Day weekend.
It’s a holiday for people. Get out and celebrate, be one, meet as one, hang out
together. As long as everyone is safe and keeps their hands washed and stuff, I
think it will be very good,” said Reitz. “I do have a lot of concerns for my
wait staff. We are a family. We do depend on a lot of teamwork. We help each
other out. We are a big family. We’ll do what we can to help them.”
Reitz said he was beefing up his Door Dash Service to
deliver meals to customers at home.
While many basketball fans were packing up and leaving
Indianapolis earlier than expected, others were staying put.
“I don’t mind hanging out in Indy for a few days,” said
Dolphin. “I think it’s a great city and it’s a great town and I’ll find
something to do.”
The predicted economic impact for Indianapolis after last
weekend’s Big 10 Women’s Tournament and this week’s Men’s Tournament was
expected to be $15 million.
Last night the Nike Mid-East Qualifier announced it was
cancelling next week’s volleyball tournament which was expected to bring 38,000
attendees and $25 million to Indianapolis.
The NCAA Regional Tournament is expected to have a $20
million impact in Indianapolis and, next month, 30,000 attendees are
anticipated for the Fire Department Instructor Conference with a projected $35
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