Metro Sporting Events Directly Impacted By Coronavirus

Saturday, March 14th 2020, 8:04 pm

The impact of COVID-19 is felt here in Oklahoma City with several events being canceled or postponed. 

The remainder of Thunder home games are undetermined due to the NBA’s regular season postponement.

Oklahoma City officials said it's not just the local economy that will take a hit but city employees will be affected.

"We're hoping this thing runs its course quickly and we get over it and get back to business as usual," Oklahoma City Convention and Business Bureau president Michael Carrier said.

Since fans were asked to leave Chesapeake Energy Arena on Wednesday due to a Utah Jazz player testing positive for COVID-19, it is uncertain when fans will be allowed back.

The suspension of the NBA season leaves the city wondering how much potential revenue they could lose.

Each home game brings in about $1.3 million. Ninety-five percent of that revenue is local money.

"So it's discretionary spending that people here in Oklahoma City and the surrounding metro area could spend anywhere," Carrier said. "They chose to spend it with the Thunder."

Carrier says the ones who are hurt the most are arena hourly employees such as ushers, ticket takers and concession workers.

He said he's unsure, at this time, how those workers will still get paid.

"It's a challenge because those are folks that enjoy doing that and it certainly puts a cramp on their pocketbooks," Carrier said.

The Women’s College World Series, annually played at ASA Hall of Fame Stadium in Oklahoma City, is also canceled.

"This year, particularly because we've just finished the expansion of the stadium, 4,000 more seats," Carrier said. "A lot more people coming. That event brings in about $25 million a year."

Carrier also mentioned there were around 600 softball travel teams expected to play an additional tournament at the stadium, as well.  It's uncertain if those games will be canceled or not, but that would be expected to bring in another $10 million.

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