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American Airlines Center Cancels All Games, Events Through April 6 On Coronavirus Worries

The American Airlines Center, home to the Dallas Mavericks and Dallas Stars, is closing its doors to concert-goers and sports enthusiasts through April 6, as worries over the coronavirus pandemic trickle deeper into the Dallas economy.  

American Airlines Center

The arena will technically remain open with employees on-site everyday to keep operations going, but all events are halted until April 6, the facility's general manager, Dave Brown, said Thursday. 

The cancellations will impact 10 sporting events and three concerts, each of which would have drawn about 16,000 to 18,000 people per event, Brown estimated.  

As of Thursday, the center had pushed one concert, the Dan + Shay Tour, to July 31. The Mavs and Stars games are listed as postponed. 

The economic pain doesn't stop with the arena's nearly monthlong cancellations. Roughly 31 Victory Park restaurants and retailers depend on game day and concert traffic to enhance patron traffic. 

"That spread is going to be pretty significant," University of Wisconsin professor Ian Coxhead told Bisnow.  

Coxhead is monitoring the global economic impact of the coronavirus and said economists have known for a while that entertainment venues, restaurants and travel companies are the first in line to feel the pain.   

"There is a cluster of service-sector businesses around an arena like that — restaurants, parking [lots], bars and other forms of entertainment," Coxhead said. "All of those are going to see their traffic dwindle away very rapidly if no one is coming to the sports event itself."

The facility, which hosts Dallas Mavericks and Dallas Stars games, made the decision after the National Basketball League and National Hockey League suspended spring games indefinitely after an NBA player tested positive for the coronavirus. 

The NHL followed the NBA's lead, saying both leagues frequent the same locker rooms and facilities. 

"It now seems likely that some member of the NHL community would test positive at some point — it is no longer appropriate to try to continue to play games at this time," NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman said in a public statement. 

Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban supported the NBA's announcement, but told the Dallas Morning News he is "stunned" by this turn of events. 

"This is something out of a movie. And you don’t expect it to happen in real life. But that’s the randomness of the world we live in. It’s stunning, but we are where we are. And we have to be smart in how we respond," Cuban told Dallas Morning News writer Eddie Sefko. 

The arena's cancellations aren't a surprise to Coxhead. 

"Both for the reason of avoiding contact with others and also because they are concerned about their future income, people are going to cut back on a lot of spending on entertainment, travel, luxury goods and restaurants; all of those things are going to go down," he said.