An NPR member station
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

NCAA Basketball Still On For Spokane Arena, But Not For Fans

Spokane Public Facilities District

The NCAA says it will hold its regional men’s basketball tournament at the Spokane Arena as scheduled next Thursday and Saturday. But it won’t allow fans inside.

The collegiate sports body announced, because of concerns about the coronavirus, it will allow only the teams, essential personnel and limited family members to attend the games. That ruling covers all of the games in both the men’s and women’s tournaments, from the first and second rounds next week to the Final Four events.

Eric Sawyer is the CEO of the Spokane Sports Commission, which is hosting the Spokane subregional. He says his staff is disappointed, but supports the decision. He notes the six games to be played here will be televised on national cable networks and bring exposure to the region.

The decision is also disappointed because there’s been speculation the hometown Gonzaga Bulldogs would have been assigned to play in the arena that’s about a mile from their campus. Gonzaga’s athletics department issued a statement expressing its disappointment for the team’s players, coaches and fans, but understanding the decision.

Spokane Mayor Nadine Woodward said in a news conference Wednesday that the city will take a multi-million dollar economic hit in lost revenue from hotel stays and meals.