FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WFFT) - This past weekend, thousands of women's basketball fans were expected to flock to Fort Wayne for the NCAA Tournament.
The Coliseum was scheduled to host the regional semifinal and final games before the tournament was ultimately canceled due to Coronavirus.
Local basketball fan Doug Weaver had been looking forward to this weekend for a while.
"Super excited to go," Weaver said. "Bought eight tickets right off the bat. We actually had the second row, right behind the bench side."
Great tickets for what would have been great women's basketball games, featuring some of the best college teams in the country.
"You're not even talking about the first and second rounds," Weaver said. "The winner would have went to the Final Four. This would have been huge for the city as well, and obviously for all of Northeast Indiana. We go to a lot of things at the Coliseum. It would have been great for the Coliseum to show itself off on the national stage."
Instead, as the Coronavirus pandemic looms, the doors to the Coliseum are closed. The parking lot, empty. And basketball fans like Weaver are sitting at home.
"It's the right decision, but it's still disappointing overall," Weaver said.
The Coliseum had already sold over 2,500 tickets for the event. They were expecting to sell several thousand more. And event organizers like Ashley Malone have seen hundreds of hours of hard work go down the drain.
"Kneejerk reaction is, of course, to be disappointed," Malone said. "We had all worked so hard and so long, and we were so confident that we were going to do a great job and produce an amazing tournament."
Although there is disappointment, that confidence is still there.
Purdue Fort Wayne Athletic Director Kelley Hartley Hutton is hopeful her staff will get another shot at some point.
"In terms of future bids, we're aggressive, and we're working together," Hartley Hutton said. "The process demonstrated to us that Visit Fort Wayne, Purdue Fort Wayne, and the Coliseum are really strong colleagues. So, just very confident that there are going to be other opportunities in the very near future."