The San Antonio Spurs and Orlando Magic have detailed plans to allow a limited number of fans into their arenas during the early stages of the new NBA season, but the Chicago Bulls will play without spectators until further notice.
The Spurs’ first home game at AT&T Center will be against the Toronto Raptors on December 26. This game will not be played with fans but the Spurs have targeted the January 1 fixture against the Los Angeles Lakers to begin welcoming back supporters at a limited capacity.
The move will be subject to public health data and guidelines at the time. AT&T Center will not host any fans at all during December, including Spurs’ pre-season opener against the Oklahoma City Thunder on December 12.
RC Buford, chief executive of Spurs Sports & Entertainment, said: “We’ve been planning for this moment for months and are confident in the health and safety protocols we have in place. Waiting until January 1 will allow us to run through real in-game scenarios to ensure that we are doing everything possible to responsibly celebrate the start of a new season with our Spurs Family.”
The Magic is also planning on allowing a limited number of fans into Amway Center (pictured) for its home game against the Miami Heat on December 23.
The team has detailed plans for a socially-distanced crowd at the 20,000-seat arena, with season ticket holders to be given first priority based on their tenure, followed by fans who have made a season ticket deposit. Tickets will also be made available to the general public on a game-by-game basis.
Magic chief executive Alex Martins said: “As we have said, the health and safety of everyone connected to our game will be top priority. Our goal is to make everyone feel comfortable that extensive safety precautions have been taken for the return to Amway Center. We continue to work through protocols as outlined by the NBA, CDC and local health officials and will use the preseason as a trial to assess and evaluate safety measures.”
Meanwhile, the Bulls have confirmed that no fans will be in attendance at the United Center for the beginning of the 2020-21 NBA season.
The Bulls will continue working with the league and city and state officials to evaluate when the return of fans may be allowed later in the season. The Bulls’ first home game of the season will be against the Atlanta Hawks on December 23.
The Bulls join the Charlotte Hornets, Oklahoma City Thunder, Los Angeles Lakers and Milwaukee Bucks in confirming plans to start the season without fans. Utah Jazz is among the few teams to have detailed plans to open its arena at a reduced seating capacity.