SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – A major announcement Friday in the Birthplace of Basketball, the Basketball Hall of Fame Class of 2020 Enshrinement has again been postponed, this time to May 2021.
Another big blow, it won’t be held in Springfield but rather across state lines in Connecticut.
The 2020 Class has some big-name inductees which include Kevin Garnett, Tim Duncan and the late Kobe Bryant. This enshrinement would have brought thousands of people to the area and it’s going to be a major loss for the City of Springfield.
In just two weeks Springfield Symphony Hall would normally have a red carpet, fans lined around a barrier fence, and basketball’s biggest names in history. But because of coronavirus, Symphony Hall will be empty and in May of 2021 it will still be empty.
The Hall of Fame is moving Enshrinement weekend to Mohegan Sun, taking big business away from local hotels and restaurants.
“It’s a shame to lose them because we really do get a lot of the inductees that come in in to eat with their families, people are coming downtown with their kids that are here and wanting to see them walk around in the city it’s an exciting time,” said Rita Caputo-Capua, manager at Red Rose in Springfield.
Basketball Hall of Fame President and CEO John Doleva said Mohegan could offer a “near-bubble” for enshrinement weekend which would provide a safer environment for guests. He added that Mohegan Sun is a temporary venue, enshrinement will be back in Springfield after next year. Something Mayor Sarno said he’s ensuring.
Sarno told 22News, “Was I happy about this no. Am I very disappointed about it yes, and that was expressed to Hall of Fame officials a while ago. But, once again, one and done and then right back here.”
The Hall of Fame also announced the lack of revenue during the pandemic forced significant layoffs and pay cuts for employees of the hall.