Weekend HBCU football game in St. Louis moved to Arkansas
If you were planning on going to the St. Louis River City Historically Black College and University Football Classic, featuring the University of Arkansas Pine Bluff against Alabama A&M University — it ain’t happening.
Well, it is happening, but you’re gonna have to get in your car and drive 388 miles to Pine Bluff, Arkansas, where the game has been relocated.
The event promoter, Milestone Marketing and Distribution Group and Black College Football Classic Series, suddenly cancelled the St. Louis event Wednesday, just a few days before the game was to be played at the Dome at America's Center in downtown St. Louis.
According to a press release from the organization, “our ability to fully sell Classic Tickets through TicketMaster was impeded, restrained, or not allowed to happen.”
But, some fans are questioning the group's promotional strategy and others have called it offensive. According to the press release, “after advertising our BRING A BLACK MALE TO THE CLASSIC – YOU MAY CHANGE HIS LIFE, resulted in NO CLASSIC TICKETS being sold.”
The promoter said it "expected this promotion to generate 5,000 to 10,000 Classic Tickets sold.”
When the St. Louis American asked Explore St. Louis, the agency that operates the Dome, about that claim, they stated “[Milestone Marketing and Distribution Group owner Eugene Gilbert’s] assertions contained in his media release dated 10/12/22 are a red herring overlooking the fact that he was unable to secure a title sponsor for the event and general tickets sales were poor due to his late start in selling tickets. In addition, financial terms of the contract with Milestone Marketing and Distribution Group, Inc. were not fulfilled.”
Many St. Louisans will remember that the Gateway Classic annual football game was held at the Dome for a number of years, and was well promoted and well attended.
Explore St. Louis representatives said they're disappointed the event will not take place. "We were looking forward to starting a new HBCU tradition at the Dome at America’s Center. We wish the coaches and student athletes the best in their game this weekend.”
The story was originally published in the St. Louis American, a news partner of St. Louis Public Radio.