This region of the United States is one of the most conservative when it comes to attendance at games. The majority of teams seem to be on the same page in stressing the importance of social distancing. 20% is the highest amount of capacity allowed at any game in the northeast.
The Boston Red Sox are opening their season with the lowest attendance in the league. They will be allowing 12% capacity for a maximum of 4,500 fans with plans to open up more as the season continues.
The Philadelphia Phillies are also opening their stadium at 20% this season. They have told fans that season ticket holders get priority in for the first 19 games.
The Pittsburgh Pirates will be allowing 20% capacity at PNC Park which is a maximum of 7,800 fans.
The New York Yankees and Mets are both starting the season with 20% capacity limits. Entry to the stadium is only permitted if fans show a vaccination card or a negative COVID test within the last 72 hours.
The Boston Celtics are allowing 12% capacity at their home games. Boston is being very careful with easing restrictions as they do not want large gatherings to increase the number of cases in the city.
The New York Knicks are having 10% of capacity filled at Madison Square Garden this season. They are requiring a proof of vaccination or a negative covid test in order to enter the arena.
The Brooklyn Nets are also allowing 10% capacity as New York is slowly opening up the city again.
The Philadelphia 76ers are allowing 15% capacity for this season. The Wells Fargo Center has invested millions of dollars into health and safety advancements.
The Boston Bruins are following the same limits as the Celtics with a 12% capacity maximum. They have implemented a “play it safe” protocol which requires fans to complete an agreement complying with the safety rules before entering the arena.
The New Jersey Devils are allowing 10% of fans into the Prudential Center for their home games. The Prudential Center is using mobile ordering for concessions and many other rules to encourage social distancing.
The New York Rangers and Islanders are also both allowing a 10% capacity for their games. These two teams will be requiring fans to provide proof of a negative covid test or proof of vaccination in order to enter.
The Philadelphia Flyers and Pittsburgh Penguins opened up their arenas at the beginning of March with 15% capacity.
South & Southeast
All teams discussed are following COVID-19 protocols including temperature checks at arrival, social distancing, and wearing a mask at all times except when eating and drinking. Hand sanitizing stations are placed throughout the stadiums. Mobile ticketing and ordering will be a new popular action taken throughout the country.
Atlanta Hawks 2021 Season Regulations:
On March 9, the Hawks announced they were selling single-game tickets to the general public. Previously, the Hawks announced the team would continue to play games at State Farm Arena with limited guests and were targeting Jan. 26 for the return of ticketed fans. Tickets for games from Jan. 26 through Feb. 24 will go on sale at a later date and the Hawks will open at 10% capacity (approximately 1,700 tickets) before gradually increasing throughout the season pending adequate conditions.
Atlanta Falcons 2020-21 Season Regulations:
The Falcons plan to keep season-ticket prices flat, even if the NFL adds a 17th regular-season game. For their latest completed 2020 season the first 12 rows behind the bench areas were blocked off, fans sat in rows six feet away from others, aisle seats were not offered in order to prevent exposure, and they used “pods” of one to six persons who must arrive together wearing masks. Tickets had reached sky-high prices making it difficult for the average fan to attend a home game. The Falcons decided that season tickets will not be able to be split up, so if a season ticket holder was to transfer them to another person, the entire block will have to be sold.
Atlanta Braves 2021 Season Regulations:
For the first time since October 2019, the Braves are implementing a new system to let fans watch from Truist Park Stadium. The Braves will limit attendance to 33% of the Park’s full capacity for the start of the season. About 13,500 fans will be allowed in the 41,000-seat stadium. That will leave space for social distance between pods of occupied seats. The Braves plan to re-evaluate capacity for each home game as the pandemic evolves through the season. They hope to be at full capacity for the MLB All-Star Game on July 13th that was supposed to be held in Atlanta which is now being changed due to the voting law in Georgia. The MLB is looking for a new location.
Each state in the western region of the country has different restrictions in place. All NBA teams in the state of California will not be hosting any fans until further notice as well as the Portland Trailblazers. The only three teams allowing fans on this side of the country are the Phoenix Suns, Denver Nuggets and Utah Jazz with 16%, 22% and 30% capacity respectively.
The California teams will however have a change in attendance in the near future. In recent news that broke, April 15th will mark the first day that fans will be allowed to enter arenas since March of 2020.
Regulations that must be followed in these arenas are: masks must be worn at all time unless actively eating or drinking with their designated ticket group, fans must sign a waiver to abide by the protocols set in place, all tickets are to be digital, cash will not be accepted, no bags to be accepted (unless a diaper bag that fits into given dimensions), all restrooms will have touchless features with enhanced cleaning and elevators/escalators will have limited capacities of either two people or the size of your ticket group (maximum of six).
A sport on the west coast that is allowing fans for indoor arenas is hockey, but again all California teams will have none. As for the other teams in the league, the Arizona Coyotes will allow 25% capacity which is approximately 3,450 fans, the Vegas Golden Knights will allow 15% capacity which is about 2,600 fans and the Colorado Avalanche open to 22% capacity amounting to about 4,050 fans to home games.
Like the NBA teams on the west coast, the California hockey teams: Anaheim Mighty Ducks, Los Angeles Kings and San Jose Sharks, have all been given the go-ahead to open their doors on April 15th as well. This comes as no surprise as most of these teams share their arenas with their city’s NBA team.
Regulations set forth by the NBA arenas to be as followed for NHL as arenas are shared across the leagues.
Baseball has just taken off this past weekend and outdoor stadiums are allowing all teams to host fans at lowered capacities. All California MLB teams will open to 20% capacity with the Seattle Mariners following suit. The other two teams in the west region are opening up to a slightly larger crowd. The Arizona Diamondbacks have opened their doors to 25% capacity and the Colorado Rockies at the largest capacity of 42.6% capacity
Given that there are more people walking in and around MLB stadiums, stricter protocols have been put in place. Fans are required to wear face coverings at all times in stadiums unless actively eating or drinking in one’s assigned seat. There have also been enhanced cleaning with hand sanitizing stations throughout, touchless soap, sinks and towel dispensers. Restrooms will also operate at smaller capacities to make for less interaction between fans. Stadiums have also invested in the use of plexiglass to be installed at merchandise locations to keep fans as well as workers safe and distanced.
After last year’s tournament was canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic, one of the biggest questions entering this March Madness is will fans be able to attend? Fans could attend but the main questions are how many and what are the requirements for attendance? The NCAA answered these questions back in February when the full plan for the tournament was being presented.
First, the NCAA Tournament is being played entirely in Indiana this year with the large majority of games being held at one of several sites in Indianapolis. The move to one location allows for both less travel for teams and thus less potential exposure, but also allows the NCAA to work with just one state and local health authority on the protocols for attendance.
For this year’s tournament, fan capacity is being capped at 25% for each venue and that number includes all participants, essential staff and family members of the participating schools along with the reduced number of general admission fans. Those attending the games must wear face coverings and physically distance during the game.
Games will be played on two courts inside Lucas Oil Stadium, but only one at a time, as well as Bankers Life Fieldhouse, Hinkle Fieldhouse, Indiana Farmers Coliseum, Mackey Arena in West Lafayette and Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall in Bloomington. Due to the varying sizes of the arenas at those sites, the attendance capacity will fluctuate based on where the games are being played.
Butler’s Hinkle Fieldhouse has a capacity of 9,100 and 25 percent capacity would allow for 2,275 attendees. Indiana’s Assembly Hall has a capacity of 17,222 or 4,305 at 25 percent capacity. Purdue’s Mackey Arena has a capacity of 14,804 and 25 percent capacity would work out to 3,701. Indiana Farmers Coliseum has a capacity of 6,800 and 1,700 at 25 percent capacity. Bankers Life Fieldhouse, home of the Indiana Pacers, has the largest capacity of any of the basketball-specific facilities at 20,000 so it would be limited to 5,000. Lucas Oil Stadium, home of the Indianapolis Colts, seats 70,000 for football and approximately that many for basketball as well making it the largest of the host sites.
“The number one priority for decisions around the tournament continues to be the safety and well-being of everyone participating in the event,” said NCAA Chief Medical Officer Dr. Brian Hainline. “We have been in regular conversations with the NCAA COVID-19 Medical Advisory Group and local health officials to make sure we have the right protocols in place to provide a safe environment. Additionally, IU Health is providing critical testing and monitoring services enabling us to safely conduct the tournament.”
On March 11, 2020, the NBA announced the suspension of the 2019-20 season. On June 4, the NBA Board of Governors approved resuming the 2019-20 season in Orlando, Florida at Walt Disney World. This began the NBA bubble which proved to be extremely effective at preventing the spread of COVID-19. On October 11, the season concluded with zero cases of COVID-19 in the bubble for its entire duration.
The 2020-21 season began on December 22, 2020 and the regular season has been reduced to 72 games for each team. A bubble would not be used this time around. Each team will be back in their own home arena with daily testing occurring for players and staff. Fan attendance for each home arena would be released team-by-team as the season goes on.
The Milwaukee Bucks play at the Fiserv Forum which holds 17,341 fans. The Bucks have announced that they are expanding attendance at home games to 18% capacity or roughly 3,280 fans beginning March 20. As part of the expansions, suites and loft spaces at the area are also reopening in a limited capacity.
The Detroit Pistons play at the Little Caesars Arena which holds 20,332 fans. Home games have previously not been open to fans, but the Pistons started allowing fan attendance starting with their March 17 game. They will allow 3.5% capacity or up to 750 fans at home games.
The Minnesota Timberwolves play at the Target Center which holds 18,978 fans. The Timberwolves have just recently announced that 3,000 fans will be allowed for home game attendance starting April 5.
The Chicago Bulls play at the United Center which holds 20,917 fans but have no fans currently attending any of their games. The team says they will continue working with the NBA and city and state officials to evaluate conditions to determine if there is a timeline where fans can return to home games.
The Indiana Pacers play at the Bankers Life Fieldhouse which holds 17,923 fans. The Pacers announced that a limited number of tickets would go on sale to the general public for home games. The timeline for these games were between Jan. 24 and March 4 and were limited to approximately 1,000 tickets. A gradual increase was made after the Marion County Health Department allowed for 25% capacity or roughly 4,500 fans for Pacers home games.
The Cleveland Cavaliers play at the Rocket Mortgage Fieldhouse which holds 20,562 fans. When their health and safety plan was initially released it included a state-restricted, reduced seating limit of 300 fans which was then increased starting January 11 and allowed 2,720 fans. This allows for roughly 14% capacity at home games.
Major League Baseball began their 2021 regular season on Thursday, April 1. Every team this year is expected to play a regulation-length season, meaning 162 games. They will play in front of crowds, mostly at capacities that allow for social distancing. It won’t be quite like pre-COVID times, but it will somewhat resemble those days.
The Milwaukee Brewers play at the American Family Field. They had requested 35% capacity to begin the season from the Milwaukee Health Department but reached an agreement for 25% capacity. That will allow for 10,500 fans in attendance for home games.
The Detroit Tigers play at Comerica Park and will start the season with 20% capacity which is about 8,200 fans
The Minnesota Twins play at the Target Field and will start the season at a maximum capacity of 10,000 fans
Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot has decided that both the Chicago Cubs and the Chicago White Sox may sell tickets for 20% of their available seats. This means the Cubs will be able to sell 8,274 tickets to their home games for the time being. The Cubs’ home opener was played on April 1. The White Sox will be able to sell 8,122 tickets to their home games and their home opener is scheduled for April 8
The Kansas City Royals play at Kauffman Stadium and will allow up to 10,000 fans in attendance for April games. They plan to increase attendance as the season goes along
The St. Louis Cardinals play at Busch Stadium and will have 32% capacity to start the season which is roughly 14,500 fans.
The Cleveland Indians play at the Progressive Field. They are allowing 30% capacity which is about 10,500 fans, seating pods will be for no more than six people. It is recommended that they are from the same household and masks will be required
The Cincinnati Reds play at the Great American Ballpark. They are also allowing 30% capacity which is about 12,700 fans, seating pods will be for no more than six people. It is recommended that they are from the same household and masks will be required.