Workers assembled the metal framework for outdoor tents in the parking lot of the Pro Football Hall of Fame on Friday, getting ready for its big enshrinement weekend—one that won’t include a game for the first time in 45 years.
It’s much more than just a lost preseason game for the northern Ohio community with deep football roots.
The labor dispute between NFL owners and players forced the league to call off the annual Hall of Fame game between Chicago and St. Louis scheduled for Aug. 7.
Everything else will go as planned, including the enshrinement on Aug. 6.
It’s a financial blow to the Hall of Fame, which could lose about $1.5 million out of its $20 million annual operating budget. And it’s a big loss for the community, which gets more than just a financial boost from the event.
Pride also comes into play.
“We’re such a football community,” said Joanne Murray, director of the Hall of Fame festival for the local Chamber of Commerce. “From the staff to the man on the street, I doubt you’d find a single person who would say they’re not disappointed.
“We’re just going to have to get through this unusual year and embrace the other events.”
A day after the game was cancelled, the city was feeling the sting.