The upcoming 2020-21 NBA season will look quite a bit different than the one before it, at least at the beginning. Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the league was forced to play in an NBA bubble at Walt Disney World in Orlando for the end of its regular season and entirety of the 2020 playoffs.

Since Covid is still impacting the world, the NBA has taken plenty of measures in order to ensure the safety of the players, coaching staff, arena staff, and fans alike. A few speculative options for the beginning of the season, which starts on December 22nd, are that some arena suites would be open at a 25-50% capacity, based on local laws, with protocols such as masks, social distancing, and testing in place in order to ensure safety.

This blog will track which NBA teams will allow fans in 2020-21 and how many fans will be allowed. We’ll update it regularly as league protocols are updated, and hopefully, fans are able to attend games with a normal, pre-Covid capacity once the promising vaccines have helped get the country on a safer path.

How Will NBA Seating Work Under Reduced Capacity?

As fan attendance is prioritized by NBA teams this season only behind fan and player safety, seating capacity at NBA venues will be greatly reduced from their normal sellout crowds, at least to begin the 2020-21 NBA season. Venues that will allow fans to catch a game to see their favorite NBA team play in person will have fans sitting in pods, which are socially-distanced and safe limited groups of fans that will only be sitting with the ones they came with.

Existing season ticket holders will be among the first to have the opportunity to purchase pods, and tickets will be sold by the teams and secondary marketplaces like TickPick in specific pod quantities of 1, 2, 3, 4, 6, 8, etc. that allow groups of essentially any size to find tickets to their team’s home game that allow them to all sit together at a safe physical distance from other groups of fans within the venue.

Pods cannot be split up to accommodate groups of people who did not come to the game together, and fans will not be at risk of coming into contact with other pods while in their seats at the game.

What Safety Measures Should I Be Aware of This Season?

The league has plenty of safety protocols in place to protect all people inside the arena during this upcoming season, as was first reported by The Athletic’s Shams Charania. First and foremost, all fans above the age of 2 will be required to wear a mask throughout the game, without exception. Fans will also be required to take symptom surveys prior to entering the arena, and food and beverages will not be allowed within 30 feet of the court. Teams will all have the options to install plexiglass behind benches.

Testing wouldn’t be required for fans for arena suites at 25% capacity or less this season and teams would be allowed to increase their fan capacity up to 50% if all fans were tested or if the local county’s positivity rate is 3% or below and the seven-day average of new cases per 100,000 residents is fewer than 10.

NBA Teams and Their Fan Capacities

Team Venue Name Arena Capacity Is the Team Allowing Fans? How Many? (capacity)
Atlanta Hawks State Farm Arena 18,118 Maybe TBD
Boston Celtics TD Garden 18,624 Not yet  
Brooklyn Nets Barclays Center 17,732 Not yet  
Charlotte Hornets Spectrum Center 19,077 Not yet  
Chicago Bulls United Center 20,917 Not yet  
Cleveland Cavaliers Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse 20,562 Yes 300 (1.5)
Dallas Mavericks American Airlines Center 19,200 Maybe ~5000
Denver Nuggets Pepsi Center 19,155 Not yet  
Detroit Pistons Little Caesars Arena 20,491 Not yet  
Golden State Warriors Chase Center 18,064 Not yet  
Houston Rockets Toyota Center 18,055 Yes 3,000-3,600 (16%-20%)
Indiana Pacers Bankers Life Fieldhouse 17,923 Not yet  
Los Angeles Clippers Staples Center 19,060 Not yet  
Los Angeles Lakers Staples Center 19,060 Not yet  
Memphis Grizzlies FedExForum 18,119 No  
Miami Heat American Airlines Arena 19,600 Not yet  
Milwaukee Bucks Fiserv Forum 17,500 Not yet  
Minnesota Timberwolves Target Center 19,356 Not yet  
New Orleans Pelicans Smoothie King Arena 16,867 Yes 750 (4.5%)
New York Knicks Madison Square Garden 19,812 Not yet  
Oklahoma City Thunder Chesapeake Energy Arena 18,203 Not yet  
Orlando Magic Amway Center 18,846 Yes 4,000 (20%)
Philadelphia 76ers Wells Fargo Center 20,328 Not yet  
Phoenix Suns Talking Stick Resort Arena 18,422 Not yet  
Portland Trail Blazers Moda Center 19,980 Not yet  
Sacramento Kings Golden 1 Center 17,608 Not yet  
San Antonio Spurs AT&T Arena 18,418 Not yet  
Toronto Raptors Scotiabank Arena 19,800 Yes 3,800 (18% capacity)
Utah Jazz Vivint Smart Home Arena 18,303 Yes 1,500 (8%)
Washington Wizards Washington Wizards 20,356 Not yet  

 

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