The Return of Fans Will Improve Pro Sports 

A sign that reads, “We can’t wait to see you!” lights up the top of Madison Square Garden. (Photo: MSG)

In a move that looked like it would never happen, New York will soon be allowing fans to attend professional sporting events. With youth sports in limbo for so long in the state of New York, it seemed as if allowing fans to attend sporting events was far out of the question. Therefore, it came as such a shock when it was announced that as soon as February 23rd fans will be able to watch their favorite sports teams compete. Obviously, this experience is not going to be the same as it was in the past, but many people have waited almost a year for this moment.  

With Covid restrictions in place, stadiums cannot have enough fans to fill them to full capacity. The Buffalo Bills were a test run for this current format, as they previously played a home game in front of fans. The arena may look largely empty once fans are inside, but it will be a great change for viewers and attendees who finally get to experience some sense of normalcy.  

Teams will only be able to host a very small percentage of their fansMadison Square Garden, with a normal capacity of more than 18,000 fans, will only be hosting about 2,000 fans. At Barclays Center, they are very confident that this format will work. “We’re very confident in our ability to do this safely. It’s been at the forefront of our concerns all along,” John Abbamondi, the chief executive of BSE Global, the parent company of the Nets and Barclays Center, said in an interview with the New York Times. “We have a very massive facility here and we’re going to be bringing a really small percentage of our capacity.  

Fans cannot just simply buy a ticket like they used to. The process to get into the arena has got far more complicated. And the days of scalpers are over. The lastsecond decision to attend a professional sports event will have to wait until the pandemic is over. This is because testing to attend sporting events is key in ensuring the safety of all that are involved. The athletes clearly cannot interact with fans the way that they used to, as social distancing is also greatly encouraged. This is also shown greatly at Barclays Center as “All attendees will have to show proof of a negative P.C.R. test taken within 72 hours of the event, and the state’s Department of Health will have to approve each venue. Fans will also be required to remain socially distanced and wear face coverings at games.”   

Even if the comraderies of the fans sharing this experience with the players is different, the players are surely just as excited as the fans that games are no longer being played in empty arenas. The experience of hearing people in the audience adds an extra rush of adrenaline to the players. It helps them feel as if somebody is appreciating what they are doing as the ovation adds an extra level of excitement. It makes the game feel as if it is less like a job and more like it is for fun as other people are enjoying it with you. Without fans, there is no sports, so it is great that New York State is finally rewarding fans for all they do to keep sports alive. 

 

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