'Colossal Shame,' anger in Mexico City over loss of NFL game
The shock over the NFL moving a game from Mexico City on less than a week’s notice is wearing off, replaced with shame, anger and disappointment for those involved.
The Los Angeles Rams and Kansas City Chiefs will now play Monday in L.A., removing the marquee game of the NFL season and a golden opportunity from Mexico City after field conditions at Estadio Azteca were deemed too poor to host a game.
The result has been a black eye for the city and frustration for fans who made plans to watch the game in person.
Fans stuck with travel costs
Chiefs fan Eli Medina told KMBC 9 that she spent around $2,300 on travel plans to see the game. With an Airbnb and flight booked, she’s not canceling her trip and expects to watch the game on TV in Mexico City.
The worst part for her: She booked her travel plans Monday. The move was announced Tuesday.
“Surely the field looked like this a week ago,” Medina told KMBC. “Have they not been checking in on the field? Why was the NFL so out of the loop until a week before? That’s so last-minute.”
The NFL has promised to reveal reimbursement plans in the coming days for game tickets, an announcement that is still pending. Whatever happens on that front, people’s travel costs are theirs to deal with.
Shame for Mexico City
While fans with travel plans are angry, shame has been a theme in Mexico after losing out such a big event.
Wednesday’s cover of the Mexican sports paper Record read “Colosal Vergüenza” in massive font over a photo of Estadio Azteca.
Translation? “Colossal Shame.”
Former NFL kicker Raul Allegre, a Mexico native, echoed that sentiment in a statement to the Associated Press.
“I feel devastated, angered and ashamed, all of that together,” Allegre said. “I’m still trying to figure out how small minds were so irresponsible in the preparations for a game of this magnitude. I know that the world does not revolve around the NFL, but this is a great event not only for the sport but for the country, and it is inconceivable how it was taken so lightly.”
The AP reports that an NFL study showed a $45 million influx into the economy of the Mexican capital for 2016’s matchup between the Houston Texans and Oakland Raiders.
Reason dictates that a game of the magnitude of Rams-Chiefs would stand to draw more interest and more money.
The NFL has a deal with Mexico City to stage games at Estadio Azteca through 2021. It has successfully staged games there before. What happens moving forward is uncertain.
A repeat of this week’s debacle is obviously not a reasonable option. The NFL should and likely will require guarantees long in advance that grounds crew mismanagement that wouldn’t fly on most high school fields won’t occur again.
It’s not fair to the fans, it’s not fair to the teams and it’s not fair to Mexico City.
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