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Canceled and postponed events over COVID-19 leave fans, organizers stunned

Coronavirus concerns led to a string of canceled and postponed events within a matter of hours.

ARLINGTON, Texas — A series of canceled and postponed events left fans, organizers and even some participants stunned Thursday in Tarrant County.

Major League Baseball announced Thursday it would delay the start of its regular season by at least two weeks because of coronavirus concerns.

The news came as a surprise to fans like Ralex Griffin, who was looking forward to opening day at the new Globe Life Field.

“I’m from Arlington, so I’ve been suffering in that heat watching Rangers games,” Griffin said. “I was ready for the A/C and all that, so now that we have to wait on it, I guess hopefully it’s not too long .” 

The news came hours after the American Athletic Conference canceled its men’s basketball championship in Fort Worth.

“To protect our students athletes was our highest priority and we felt there was no way that we could really defend playing the games,” said Mike Aresco, AAC commissioner. 

Dickie’s Arena will miss out on 11 games originally scheduled through Sunday. The move left teams and fans wandering Fort Worth.

RELATED: LIST: NCAA joins MLB, NHL, NBA in suspending games due to COVID-19

“You hate that, but you realize that your first priority is always the health and safety and well-being of your student athletes,” Aresco said.

A handful of Temple basketball players were spotted walking near Sundance Square, which also announced Thursday it would cancel all public and private events through March 31.

The Chris Stapleton concert set to be the first at Globe Life Field was also postponed Thursday. 

RELATED: LIST: Chris Stapleton concert at Globe Life Field, other Texas events canceled due to COVID-19 concerns

“It’s sad,” said Nate Orrick, who’s visiting Fort Worth from West Texas. “People made plans and trips and everything is changed now, so it’s not only affecting the people but the economy.”

The NBA, MLS and NHL also postponed their seasons because of the coronavirus outbreak. The NCAA canceled its remaining winter and spring championships Thursday, including the men’s and women’s basketball tournaments.

“I think everybody’s safety is more important right now than sports,” Griffin said. "And this is coming from a big sports fan, so it is what it is I guess.”

The Arlington Convention and Visitors Bureau and the The Fort Worth Convention and Visitors Bureau told WFAA it’s still too soon to say what kind of an impact postponed and canceled events will have.

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