Hoopfest director clarifies refund policy, says cancelation was a shock

Imgonline Com Ua Frameblurred Vzuormd69y
Matt Santangelo. Spokane Hoopfest. Facebook

SPOKANE, Wash. — Hoopfest’s executive director Matt Santangelo said the cancelation of this year’s event was a shock. He also took time Thursday to clarify the refund policy for teams.

There were mixed reactions to Hoopfest’s cancelation: some people supported the decision, while others were angry. Santangelo said the cancelation was a shock to them as well and they were planning to have it up until Wednesday morning.

“We’re trying to figure some stuff out. There’s a lot of unknowns in our world right now that we’re working through and we’re gonna have to take some time,” he said.

One of the big unknowns is the financials of the organizations involved. Hoopfest said they would be issuing partial refunds to those who signed up.

Santangelo said this was because Hoopfest, a non-profit, has had to go over a year without holding the event. He called it the “engine” that powers it; rent, electricity, insurance, computers and staff.

PAST COVERAGE: Hoopfest canceled again due to COVID 

He said it was not an easy decision to make, and hopes people will understand they chose the refund policy because they need the registration funds.

“We’re starting to see expenses for the tournament itself,” Santangelo said. “You know our partnership with Nike, that’s not a small bill. That’s a big expense that we have to incur long before the event because we need t-shirts and shorts and basketballs and all the great things that we provide to everyone else.”

He also said they are still paying vendors and partners, as well as upfront fees they get charged in order to execute the event.

“Registration is only a portion of our revenue, it’s only a portion of our business,” he said. “So some of you do the simple math we were at about 3,200 teams which we were, side-note really really thrilled about, we were excited to have that many teams sign up for Hoopfest in September, but in the end of it, it’s about, that’s only a portion of our full budget.”

The registration fees come to around $500,000. Santangelo said that barely covers their Nike bill alone.

He said they are working with their sponsors to see what their partners are going to ultimately decide.

“So things may shift in the future, but what we know now, we’re playing a little bit of defense because we want to get to 2022,” he said.

He added they don’t want Hoopfest to go away because COVID happened and they weren’t able to run the event for two years.

“Give us a little patience, give us a little grace, we all love Hoopfest and that’s why you all signed up for it, that’s why you come to enjoy it year-after-year, that’s why we want you to come back in 2022,” Santangelo said. “We want to put ourselves as an organization in a position to where we can get there.”

He said the decision to cancel Hoopfest was made for them because of the rise in COVID cases. They did not want to put anymore strain on the local and regional health care community.

Team captains have been notified about what they want to do with the fees. They can donate them or get their partial refund.

RELATED: Spokane mayor calls canceling Hoopfest an ‘agonizing decision’