Eric Church Canceled a Concert So He Can Watch UNC Play Duke in the Final Four, and His Fans Are Pissed

The country singer scrapped a sold-out show in Texas so he could watch his beloved Tar Heels

Eric Church performs onstage during the 57th Academy of Country Music Awards at Allegiant Stadium.
Eric Church performs onstage during the 57th Academy of Country Music Awards at Allegiant Stadium.
Getty Images for ACM

On Saturday, the North Carolina Tar Heels are slated to take on their rival Duke in the Final Four, in what could be the final game of Coach Mike Krzyzewski’s career — and at least one diehard Carolina fan isn’t letting the fact that he had a prior engagement stop him from watching.

Country singer Eric Church was scheduled to play to a sold-out crowd on Saturday night at the AT&T Center in San Antonio, Texas, but on Tuesday the musician announced he was scrapping the show — the only San Antonio stop on his current tour — so he can watch the Final Four game in New Orleans with his family.

“As a lifelong Carolina basketball fan, I’ve watched Carolina and Duke battle over the years,” Church said in a statement addressed to his fans, whom he lovingly refers to as “the Church Choir.” “But to have them matchup in the Final Four for the first time in the history of the NCAA Tournament is any sports enthusiast’s dream.”

“This is also the most selfish thing I’ve ever asked the Choir to do: to give up your Saturday night plans with us so that I can have this moment with my family and sports community,” he continued. “However, it’s that same type of passion felt by the people who fill the seats at our concerts that makes us want to be part of a crowd at a game of this significance.”

As one might expect, fans who had tickets to the show are not pleased. Ticketmaster is offering refunds for tickets that were purchased for the show, but that obviously doesn’t include additional expenses like travel and lodging that many fans incurred in order to attend. As one wrote on Twitter, “Eric Church cancels his San Antonio gig for a basketball game and we’re supposed to be cool with it? How about you refund my fucking airfare and condo rental too? Four day vacation you just shit on because you’re selfish. Asshole move. Get a DVR and go Duke.”

Another fan reached out to Church directly on Twitter, noting that they flew from Alberta, Canada to Texas to attend the show. “We’re in shock you’d be this selfish,” the message reads. And to be clear, that’s exactly what this is — selfish. Has this guy never heard of a DVR? Watching the game after his show won’t be the same as watching it live in person, of course, but when thousands of people have already committed their time and hard-earned money to watch you play, “I’d rather watch this basketball game instead” doesn’t exactly sound like a worthy excuse.

If Church stopped and thought about it for more than a second, he’d probably agree. There has to be some sort of compromise here. Couldn’t he have the game playing on mute on a screen while he’s on stage if it’s that important to him? He could even take a break in between songs to check the score and deliver updates or commentary to the crowd. Presumably, some of them are also interested in the UNC-Duke outcome but had already made peace with the fact that they were seeing Church that night; incorporating the game into his show would be a creative way to interact with his fans and bond over their shared love of the Tar Heels while also honoring his commitment to play and respecting his fans’ time.

Instead, he made a rash, selfish decision, and he’s alienating some of his most devoted listeners in the process. But go Tar Heels, or whatever.

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