Some New Jersey sports fans will soon be able to watch their favorite teams play live and in person.
As ESPN's Jordan Raanan explained, New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy announced during a Monday appearance on radio station WFAN that sports venues with capacities over 5,000 spectators can welcome small percentages of fans to events beginning March 1. Indoor venues are permitted 10% of their capacities, while outdoor arenas can allow 15%.
The New York Giants and New York Jets, two NFL teams that didn't permit any fans to attend games during the 2020 season, released a joint statement following Murphy's update:
Governor Murphy announces plans for Giants fans to return to MetLife Stadium pic.twitter.com/3DrGjhUuF5— New York Giants (@Giants) February 22, 2021
The New York Red Bulls indicated they will welcome supporters for the start of the upcoming Major League Soccer campaign:
The New Jersey Devils are planning to host roughly 1,650 fans at the Prudential Center when they face the New York Islanders on March 2.
"This is a day toward which our entire staff has been planning, working, and looking forward to for the past 11 months," Devils president Jake Reynolds said in a statement shared by Raanan. "Those who enter the building will feel confident that our process and protocols are focused on making their safety the priority. That includes maximizing social distancing, minimizing contact, number one and using products and technology to ensure the wellbeing, safety, and enjoyment of our fans and attendees. The fan's journey has been developed to provide consumer confidence from the street to the seat, and we can't wait to feel their energy welcome them back to the Prudential Center to cheer and celebrate Devils' victories in person."
Earlier in the day, Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk reported that COVID-19 vaccine rollouts and trending numbers for infection rates and hospitalizations have resulted in "a growing sense of optimism" among NFL executives that stadiums could be full for games in the fall.
It's still unclear how many people will be able to attend the NFL Draft scheduled to occur in downtown Cleveland from April 29 through May 1. Pro Football Hall of Fame president David Baker said last week he believes the draft will "probably be 50% virtual and 50% in person."