The Orlando Magic NBA basketball team is hoping to welcome up to 4,000 fans to its Amway Center home arena after detailing its attendance plan for the upcoming 2020-21 season.
Pre-season games will only be open to families of the Magic organisation as part of an evaluation phase, but the team is set to welcome fans for the first five regular-season games at the Amway Center.
Those first five games are expected to go ahead with a lesser capacity to allow fans to become accustomed to health and safety protocols, but the Magic’s eventual plan is for 4,000 physically-distanced supporters in the arena, which has a capacity of around 20,000.
The 4,000 figure is bigger than any other capacity limit announced by NBA teams that are looking to welcome back fans for the new season.
Season ticket holders will be given first priority based on their tenure, followed by fans who have made a season ticket deposit. Single-game tickets to regular-season fixtures will go on sale tomorrow (Wednesday).
As well as a physically-distanced seating plan, the Magic will introduce a number of other measures, including mandatory face coverings, pre-arrival symptom and exposure surveys, testing for those in close proximity to the court, cleaning of high-traffic areas of the arena, hand sanitiser stations and a no-bag policy to reduce contamination.
The arena has also implemented numerous changes of its own, including upgraded air filters, modified UV lighting and the introduction of electrostatic sprayers. The arena will also transition to a cashless environment to minimise touchpoints.
In addition, Amway Center is actively pursuing Global Biorisk Advisory Council (GBAC) STAR Facility Accreditation, the gold standard among venues for its cleaning, disinfection and infectious disease prevention programme.
Magic chief executive Alex Martins 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.”
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 revert to their home arenas for the new season and the NBA has not issued any league-wide guidelines on attendance, leaving the decision in the hands of each team.
The new season gets underway on December 22. So far, the San Antonio Spurs, Cleveland Cavaliers and Utah Jazz are among the few teams to have detailed plans to welcome back fans.