Written By: Jose Rohdin
On Feb. 23, the Brooklyn Nets and the New York Knicks played in front of fans for the first time in over a year. In Brooklyn, the Barclays Center allowed 300 fans through the gates, while Madison Square Garden opened up for 2,000 fans.
Combined, both of New York’s hometown squads have had seven home games since fans have been allowed back into stadiums. With COVID-19 still being a crucial factor in everyone’s life, New York stadiums have been allowed to have 10 percent of seats filled. The Nets are easing into opening up with an average of 445 fans per game, while the Knicks are averaging 1,330 fans per game.
Daniel Donovan is a recent graduate of Oswego State University, and he came all the way down from upstate New York to watch the Knicks play.
“Honestly the atmosphere was pretty electric. I’d say it felt like there were 15,000 fans in the Garden at times of the game. It’s like all of New York was back in MSG.”
With New York fans being some of the world’s most passionate, it has been a welcoming sight to have them back in the stands. The best thing about fans being allowed is that coincidentally both the Nets and Knicks could make the playoffs for the first time since the 2012-2013 season.
The New York Rangers, who share Madison Square Garden with the Knicks, have also started to allow fans into the arena. Jane McNally is one such fan and was able to get tickets for a Rangers game when they went on a season ticket pre-sale.
To get into the game, McNally had to provide a negative COVID test that was taken within the last 72 hours. The seats were spread apart, and the arena staff was around to ensure everyone kept their masks on, which led to a safe environment.
One of the most significant question marks surrounding the opening of arenas has been safety.
“The fans followed the protocol strictly, and security was on top of it if it seemed that someone had their mask a little too low,” McNally wrote. “Seeing security dedicated to the enforcement of these protocols was the main factor of me feeling safe at this game.”
With Opening Day for baseball just around the corner, the Mets and Yankees are expected to follow the same path as other New York teams, allowing 10 percent of the seats to be filled. Soon there will be seven teams in New York that will be playing in front of their adoring fans.
The first round of tickets was put on sale just for season ticket holders, but now almost anyone can get tickets. Of course, with the limited number of tickets, they are a lot more expensive than usual though.
To see the Nets this season would cost you over $100 easy, and for the Knicks, about $200-$300 a game, on Stubhub. Fortunately, baseball tickets have always been cheaper, but still, tickets can range from $30 to $100 for both the Yankees and the Mets on Stubhub.
The good news is that the best sports fans in the world can finally go back to their stadiums, cheer and heckle, and feel safe while doing so.