SPOKANE, Wash. — It’s hard to believe, but if life were going according to schedule, Hoopfest would be going on this weekend.
"Since my time at Hoopfest, I don’t think I’ve ever been so well rested by the end of June," said Hoopfest Executive Director Matt Santangelo. "You have Hoopfest nightmares. Mine's always that we forgot to order the basketballs. Like you show up on Saturday morning, and you don't have basketballs to play 14,000 games with. I haven't had that one this year so maybe in August I get to experience that."
As of right now, Hoopfest is planned for the weekend of August 22-23.
A few weeks ago Santangelo announced that the event will run at 50% capacity.
That’s a significant cut in participants, so what does that mean financially for his organization?
"It's going to put a lot of pressure. If the event is not allowed to happen because of what's going on in the world, that pressure could be significantly larger. We are working through those different scenarios as well and trying to be as prudent and responsible as we can now to give the organization the greatest possibility of getting to 2021, but we're going to limp there. It's going to be like a sprained ankle on the Spokane streets at Hoopfest. We're going to limp into 2021 at this rate," he said.
Santangelo says that the organization will make a final decision on whether or not to hold the event in August around the time of the July 24th deadline teams have to register.
Right now, Hoopfest is simultaneously preparing like they’re playing in August and preparing for what’s next if that cannot happen.
"We went through Plan A through Z and then we went like AA, BB. We've gone through the alphabet twice. I think now we're using emojis to identify the plans. We’ve got plans. We’ve got more plans than we know what to do with," he said. "I think at that point you really start to look at the virtual events, and there's some really great opportunities there for us as well. I don't want to put it out into the universe quite yet because I'm still planning for August, but we've been working through all the various scenarios and certainly are aware of the risks and the challenges that an event like us present."
Spokane is most certainly a basketball city, no matter if the sport, or Hoopfest, can or cannot happen right now. Santangelo is hopeful for his organization no matter how 2020 plays out for them.
"I just believe that Hoopfest makes such a huge impact in our area. The financial impact, the cultural impact, the identity impact outside of Spokane. People will see that value and step up to support," he said.
Hoopfest is doing something special in honor of what would’ve been the event’s 31st weekend. On Saturday, volunteers will meet to go around the city and put up fresh nets at different courts. Net Day, as Hoopfest calls it, has been an internal tradition within the organization for awhile, it just normally happens in the spring.
On Saturday, they also are going to release the official game ball for Hoopfest this year. People will be able to buy that ball online.