Pennsylvania sports venues to welcome back fans

Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf has announced that indoor sports events in the state can go ahead at a maximum of 15% capacity, while outdoor venues have been cleared to open at a maximum of 20% capacity.

Following the announcement, Philadelphia’s Wells Fargo Center (pictured), home of the NHL’s Flyers and the NBA’s 76ers, confirmed that fans will be able to return to the arena if the city matches new state restrictions or raises their own.

Wells Fargo Center has undergone a health and safety transformation in recent months, with an $11m (£7.9m/€9.1m) renovation of its heating, ventilation and air conditioning system having been carried out. The arena has also been awarded the WELL Health-Safety Rating for Facility Operations and Management.

Philadelphia Health Commissioner Dr. Thomas Farley announced on Friday that the city would match the state’s previous limit of 500 people for indoor events, adding that “if the state relaxes its limits further, we’ll consider whether we want to match that”.

Valerie Camillo, president of business operations for the Flyers and Wells Fargo Center, said: “We’re ready to safely welcome fans back to Broad Street, and as soon as the city further eases its restrictions, we will have Flyers and 76ers fans in the building within days. We’re speaking directly with city leaders this afternoon in our continuing effort to make that happen as soon as possible.”

Governor Wolf’s announcement would also allow Major League Baseball team the Philadelphia Phillies and Major League Soccer’s Philadelphia Union to open their stadiums at 20% capacity when their respective seasons get underway in April. The Phillies will wait for an announcement from the city before detailing their plans for fan attendance.

Elsewhere in Pennsylvania, the NHL’s Pittsburgh Penguins have received approval to welcome 2,800 fans to PPG Paints Arena. The Penguins will make tickets available for today’s game, coincidentally against the Flyers, on a priority basis to season ticket holders only.

Seating at PPG Paints Arena will be limited to pods of two and four to allow for social distancing within the capacity restrictions.

MLB’s Pittsburgh Pirates have also welcomed Governor Wolf’s announcement and will detail plans for ticket availability for games at PNC Park in the coming days.

In other news, the NBA’s San Antonio Spurs have detailed plans to welcome fans back to AT&T Center from March 12. It will mark the first time in over a year that spectators have been allowed at the arena.

AT&T Center will operate at a reduced capacity of around 3,200 to help maintain social distancing. Fans will be required to wear face coverings and have their temperatures checked at the door, while cashless services will also be implemented.

The Spurs have also upgraded AT&T Center’s digital reach, with the arena becoming the first in the US to have AT&T Wi-Fi 6 and 5G services.

Image: Peetlesnumber1/CC BY-SA 4.0/Edited for size