When will we be able to watch live sports


Photo used with permission from mollyali licensed under CC BY-NC 2.0

The Michigan Football game has a friends and family only policy for fans.

A pressing question on the minds of sports fans and teams around the world is when there will be live audiences attending games. Each team depends on the revenue generated by fans attending games to make money. 

Going to any sporting event is a major expense. From the overpriced food and souvenirs to the tickets to attend the game, it is challenging to get out of the event without spending a good chunk of money.

Why are fans needed at games: A question that there is seemingly no easy answer to. From the players’ perspective, having fans at the games adds an extra level of excitement and energy to the game, while the owners’ perspective is that fans are their main source of revenue. Not having fans in attendance of games not only has cost the owners but it has also cost the league. Each individual team in the MLB lost over a billion dollars this past season from not having fans attend games. 

The big question is when will fans be allowed back in games. The answer is now. Starting with the NBA season, fans have been allowed to attend the games of 11 teams, which is slightly over one third of the NBA teams. States such as Florida, Texas and Indianapolis have been allowing fans in limited capacity to attend games since September, starting with the NFL season. The Dallas Cowboys allowed 25% capacity at games, while all Florida NFL teams allowed 20 percent capacity. Indianapolis allowed 25% capacity at Colts football games and the NCAA Men’s basketball tournament is being held in Indianapolis with the hopes that some fans in limited capacity could attend. 

There were 25,000 fans in attendance for Super Bowl LV in Tampa Bay, which is around 35% capacity of Raymond James Stadium. Starting in late February the MLB spring training games kick off with fans expected to be allowed for all 30 teams. Spring training is held in Florida and Arizona and tickets are being sold in pods of two, four and six to maintain social distancing. Starting Feb. 23 the governor of New York Andrew Cuomo has issued that all New York based sports teams could host fans at 10% capacity. 

Certain teams have put special measures in place to help avoid the risk of Covid 19 entering stadiums. The Miami Heat are having all fans attending games get sniffed by “Covid Sniffing Dogs” to be awarded entry into the stadium. The MLB regular season begins Apr. 1 for all 30 MLB teams. There is hope that all 30 MLB teams could start the season hosting 25% capacity if the Covid 19 rates are down and enough people in each state have been vaccinated. 

The question that remains is how they each team is going to allow fans into the stadiums. Are they going to gradually increase the number of fans every month or are they going to start with 75% capacity for example and see if enough precautionary measures are in place to help stop the spread of Covid 19 while giving fans the opportunity to have an enjoyable and safe experience at sporting events. Time will tell.