Spokane is home to the Gonzaga basketball team, sure. But it is also home to the largest 3-on-3 basketball tournament in the world, Hoopfest.
Beyond playing basketball, with Hoopfest comes an outdoor festival with food, vendors, music and more.
“Hoopfest weekend brings in about a $47-million impact to the Inland Northwest every single June since 1990,” said the Hoopfest website.
Originally, Hoopfest was postponed from its original date, which always takes place the last weekend of June.
Hoopfest 2020 was scheduled to take place Aug. 22-23. Eventually, the event was canceled all together due to a resurgence in COVID-19 cases.
“Under the continued guidance of the Spokane Regional Health District, Hoopfest 2020 will not take place as previously planned...The rising number of COVID-19 cases has made Hoopfest 2020 unplayable for the first time in its storied 31-year history,” said Matt Santangelo, Executive Director and GU Alumni in a news release.
Blake McBroom, a recent GU graduate, said he was disappointed he couldn't return to Spokane and participate in Hoopfest.
“Even with all the circumstances going on there was still that glimmer of hope...I love basketball, and I love 3-on-3 competitions,” McBroom said.
“I've made some great memories at Hoopfest in the past, and as a GU alumni I was stoked to come back to Spokane for Hoopfest,” said McBroom, “I’ll definitely be back for more.”
In place of Hoopfest, a virtual event will take place Aug. 20-23, called Hoopfest HomeCourt 2020.
“In this unique and challenging year, we are excited to offer all of you Hoopfest on HomeCourt 2020, a virtual event. We are fortunate to announce a new partnership with the HomeCourt app and NEX Team Inc," said the Hoopfest website. "Through their artificial intelligence platform, we can deliver challenges, drills and contests to your front door that everyone can enjoy.”
Players who do not wish to participate in the virtual event, will be receiving a full refund.
Senior Crissy Belle Lubke said her internship in marketing for Hoopfest and Hooptown USA was affected by both COVID-19 and the cancellation of Hoopfest. “COVID-19 turned my in-person internship to a remote one for the most part,” Lubke said. “The postponement of Hoopfest originally impacted my internship quite a bit. With the original June date, I was going to be able to work both my summer job and continue to intern with Hoopfest. However, with the postponement, there wasn't really a clear plan of what my internship was going to look like.”
Lubke said that she had always admired the Spokane Hoopfest organization, and was a player when she was younger.
“I was always enamored by the monstrosity of the event, so when I saw their advertisement on social media [for an internship application] I immediately reached out because I wanted to know how the event operated from the inside,” Lubke said.
Although Hoopfest is the largest 3-on-3 basketball tournament in the world, the Spokane Hoops and Hoopfest organization is still a small business. Lubke said Hoopfest has set up a "Hoopfest Champion" campaign to encourage players who were signed up for in-person Hoopfest to maintain their registration and/or consider a donation to the 501(c)(3) non-profit organization.
Already registered teams for Hoopfest had the option to stay registered, donate to Hoopfest and Spokane Hoops organization or get a refund.
The new competition will consist of four challenges for each Hoopfest player to participate in. If the participant completes all four challenges, they will receive a championship shirt.
Each activity will have a leaderboard with the chance to win special prizes.