Bucks to open season at Fiserv Forum without fans

The Milwaukee Bucks NBA basketball team has announced that its games at Fiserv Forum will be played without fans “until further notice” in accordance with state and local COVID-19 guidelines.

The 2020-21 NBA season will begin on December 22 and while the Bucks’ home schedule has yet to be announced, the team has made the decision to take games behind closed doors to protect the health and safety of fans, players, coaches, and team and arena staff.

The Bucks will continue to work with state and local health officials, as well as the NBA, to evaluate a potential return for fans in some capacity later in the season.

The NBA concluded its 2019-20 season at the ESPN Wide World of Sports complex in Florida, with all games played on a single campus in a ‘bubble’ environment. Teams will be able to play at their home arenas for the new season and the NBA has not issued any league-wide guidelines for fan attendance, with teams to make their own decisions.

The Bucks moved into Fiserv Forum in the summer of 2018. The arena has a capacity of 17,000 and has hosted a number of major music acts since opening.

It was announced recently that the Toronto Raptors, the NBA’s only Canadian team, will start the season at Amalie Arena in Tampa, Florida due to travel-related COVID-19 restrictions. The Raptors had sought to open the season at its Scotiabank Arena home but the current public health situation in Canada and the “urgent need” to determine where the team will play led to the decision to head to Amalie Arena.

Elsewhere in the NBA, the Golden State Warriors last week saw plans for a rapid COVID-19 testing scheme that would have allowed Chase Center to operate at 50% capacity rejected by San Francisco health officials.

The proposal was outlined with the hope of allowing the 18,000-seat Chase Center to welcome around 9,000 fans when the new season starts but the plans were deemed too risky by local health services.

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