ST. LOUIS — An event expected to bring huge crowds to St. Louis this weekend is now canceled. The River City HBCU Classic was supposed to be a new spin on the former Gateway Classic, which brought college football fans to town every year.
Social media was all abuzz for the big event scheduled to happen Sunday at the Dome at America's Center. Two football teams followed by a battle of the bands. Four days before the event, organizers said the event is moving from St. Louis to Arkansas.
“The Classic was canceled because we experienced substantial and critical interference concerning producing and promoting the Classic at the hands of Explore St. Louis – Dome at America’s Center, Critical and KEY Personnel (Key Dome Personnel)," organizers said in a statement. "As a result, our ability to fully sell Classic Tickets through Ticketmaster was impeded, restrained, or not allowed to happen. And as we all know, when your ability to sell Tickets for an Event is compromised, the Event is ultimately doomed for failure; such is the Classic at this very moment. Explore St. Louis – Dome at America’s Center substantial interference regarding the Classic includes: Excessive Ticketing and Facility Fees, Refusal to Provide Classic Consignment Tickets, Unexplained Interference with Classic Contractual Business Relationships, and Unusual Charges and Fees.”
5 On Your Side took those allegations to Explore St. Louis.
"It's quite the contrary. We bent over backwards to make everything happen with this organizer…We embraced protocols that are consistent with Ticketmaster. The service fees that are called attention to are the customary service fees for our facility or a facility like ours,” Chief Marketing Officer Brian Hall said.
He questions if organizers got a late start selling tickets.
"They weren't able to meet some of the financial terms of the contract,” Hall said.
“When did you guys notice that a payment was missed?” 5 On Your Side asked.
“We noticed that a payment was missed. We monitor all payments that are in accordance with contracts for all of our customers and a payment was missed earlier this week,” Hall responded.
A host of separate events were planned to welcome the classic, like a pre-game scholarship fundraiser organized by the FAMU Alumni Association in St. Louis.
“We have contracts so we’re going to move forward with our event. We’re going to turn it into a Sunday Fun Day and try to make the best out of it,” President Brittanie Shanks said.
Classic organizers are directing people to Ticketmaster to get a refund.
“AAMU nor UAPB will refund Classic tickets. However, if anyone purchased a Classic Ticket and desires a refund, please go to the point of purchase at Ticketmaster. And TicketMaster.com will gladly refund all tickets purchased through Ticketmaster. Accordingly, TicketMaster.com will email everyone who purchased Classic tickets through TicketMaster.com, alerting them to the cancellation of the Classic and the opportunity for a refund,” organizers said in a statement.
Organizers provided the following statement: “The battle is not over yet. We will settle this matter by legal means.”