A-State fans, area businesses react to sudden cancellation of football game

A-State fans, area businesses react to sudden cancellation of football game
(Source: KAIT)
(Source: KAIT)

Red Wolves fans woke up Wednesday morning to news of A-State footballs home opener cancellation, which gave them mixed emotions.

When I woke up this morning, I was excited until I turned on my iPad and saw we werent having a game, Harry Truman Moore, a Red Wolves super fan said. It is disappointing, weve looked forward to this, but we understand. Our thoughts and prayers are with them.

Moore found this game as an opportunity for A-State to showcase a packed stadium.
Many out-of-town fans bought plane tickets, others had big cook-out plans.

He said fans hopes were high, especially coming from a close win Against Nebraska last week.

But, despite the disappointment and sudden change of plans, Moore, like many other die-hard fans, arent losing their spirit.

It was kind of a buzz kill, Jonathan Mays, a Red Wolves season ticket holder said. We understand though. It is what it is. We arent going to quick being A-State fans. This is Northeast Arkansas, it doesnt get better than here. We want another conference championship.

JONESBORO, AR (KAIT) - The sudden cancellation of A-State football's first home game blindsided Red Wolves nation, especially businesses.

Hopes were high for restaurants, fans, and hotel owners, especially for the owner of Hampton Inn in Jonesboro, B.R. Suri.

Suri said once the news spread that the University of Miami canceled due to the threat of Hurricane Irma, the hotel's front desk phone started ringing off the hook. He said there were calls from fans who had plans to travel from out of town to see the game.

On Wednesday morning, as Region 8 News set in the lobby of Hampton Inn talking with Suri about the impact it has left on his business, 10 guests called and canceled their stay for the weekend in a matter of minutes.

He said the hotel was booked full for the weekend, which he was looking forward to the revenue that would come from the big game.

In the end, he said 50 rooms are expected to be canceled, losing thousands of dollars in revenue.

"All the people who were supposed to come, groups, they have canceled all reservations," Suri said.  "That's going to be a loss near $7,000-$7,500."

Jonesboro Mayor Harold Perrin echoed the thoughts of Suri on bringing a large amount of revenue to the city.

"Obviously, we would love to have the revenue, no question about it," Perrin said. "With a game that size, there would have been a lot of people in town, and they would spend money while they are here, but you have to look at the why."

Perrin said his focus is on the more important matter, which is the safety of the University of Miami football team and the state of Florida.

"The main thing that we need to stay focused on is the reason why," Perrin said. "Why they aren't coming, I think the reason for that is the weather and our prayers and thoughts are going to be with them, just like in Houston. As mayor, I'd certainly like to extend our deepest concerns, prayers, and thoughts to the mayor in Miami and the whole area in Florida."

Every fan that Region 8 News spoke with on Wednesday was understanding of the circumstances, which is the threat of Hurricane Irma that led to the cancellation.

Some of them do not expect a refund, rather use the money to support the program.

We say keep the money, you know, Moore said. It's good for the program. We're not going to be asking for refunds and I think a lot of people have that same attitude. Apparently, it's going to be a cancellation so its not going to be replaced so I'm sure some fans will want their money back, they're entitled to that but I think a lot of people are going to say let's keep the money at home and the money in the program.

Copyright 2017 KAIT. All rights reserved.

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