Amid growing concerns over the spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus in California, numerous events around California have either been delayed, canceled, or will have greatly reduced attendance, costing the state and local areas hundreds of millions of dollars.
Coachella and E3
In the Coachella Valley, one of the largest music festivals in the world, Coachella, was delayed until October. The event, which draws in over 125,000 people each year, is a large moneymaker for the area. The week-long concert itself makes over $100 million each year, with much of that money spread throughout the area for everything from hotels to rentals to food.
“They always help us climb back into the black after a holiday slump,” said Derek Kraft, who is a manger of two retail stores in Palm Springs. “They always tide us over until tourists pick up closer to summer. But now we have to stretch a lot out.”
“Many businesses depend on it now, especially with more and more internet services. We’re going to be struggling for awhile because of this. Even more if it affects vacations.”
Also announced was the cancellation of E3, the largest video game convention in the world, which has been held annually since the 1990’s. Los Angeles has made $25 million or more for hosting the convention each year since 2011.
The NBA, NHL, and NCAA
Sporting events are also in trouble. After the NHL’s San Jose Sharks announced that upcoming games would likely be played in front of no fans, San Francisco followed suit and the Golden State Warriors will now host Wednesday nights game with no fans. This, as well as a player for the Utah Jazz being tested positively, caused the NBA to suspend games indefinitely due to virus fears. This action has been estimated to cost teams millions due to lost revenue, as well as local businesses suffering due to lower traffic.
“I don’t think they realized what they just did,” exclaimed ‘Luis’, who works in concessions at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, the arena which hosts several professional teams in the city. “The Lakers are on a big run, the Clippers bring fans out, and the [NHL] Kings keep things going too. But one person has that and you scrap millions. No one here thinks this makes any sense. We under stand why they did it, but that ‘why’ is just crazy.”
Even large-scale national events with California ties are taking extreme measures. The NCAA men’s and women’s basketball tournaments will be played in front of no fans for at least the first round, affecting many California based teams such as UCLA, as well as places where games were set to be held in the state. For the teams and cities involved, this is several more millions of lost revenue and fan spending.
Millions lost because of media hype
As the California Globe has previously reported, much of this has been caused by unjust hype in the media. Currently there are only 938 reported cases in the United States, resulting in only 29 deaths, according to the Center for Disease Control, which updates its data daily. California only has 177 of those cases, with only 3 deaths.
Despite heightened fears, medical experts are still advising common sense precautions.
“Just use common sense precautions,” explained Dr. Emilio Reyes, a Los Angeles doctor on the lookout for COVID-19. “Washing your hands after every time you go out does over half the battle. By shutting down sports games and large group meetings like that, you’re only worrying people more and playing into their fears.”
More event postponements and cancellations around the state are likely as the week progresses.