TRENTON, N.J. — The state of New Jersey is allowing sports fans back into games in the coming weeks, with 10% allowed at indoor buildings and 15% at outdoor buildings above 5,000 in capacity.
The New Jersey Devils, the lone major professional sports team left with the Garden State in its name, will bring fans back to Newark’s Prudential Center beginning with their March 2 game against the New York Islanders.
Indoor buildings are allowed to let fans enter at 10% of capacity. The capacity for hockey at The Rock has been 16,514 since 2015, so that would mean a little over 1,600 Devils diehards would be allowed in.
“This is a day toward which our entire staff has been planning, working, and looking forward to for the past 11 months. Those who enter the building will feel confident that our process and protocols are focused on making their safety the number one priority. That includes maximizing social distancing, minimizing contact, and using products and technology to ensure the wellbeing, safety, and enjoyment of our fans and attendees,” said Devils President Jake Reynolds.
Several teams with New York in their name ply their trade in the Garden State as well. The New York Giants and New York Jets released a joint statement with East Rutherford’s MetLife Stadium saying they were excited for crowds to come back in even bigger numbers to the Meadowlands when the 2021 NFL season begins in September.
“As the months go on, we are hopeful that the data will continue to be positive and the number of people will steadily increase,” the statement read. “We missed seeing our loyal fans at stadium events this past year and are excited to welcome them back in 2021.”
MetLife Stadium has a capacity of 82,500 for football, meaning under current rules, over 12,000 Jets and Giants fans would be allowed in.
The New York Red Bulls of MLS play out of Red Bull Arena in Harrison, New Jersey. Red Bulls GM Marc de Grandpre said the team is working on protocols to allow season ticket holders back in.
“It is very encouraging and exciting that Governor Phil Murphy has announced that New Jersey will allow a limited number of fans to attend sporting events,” de Grandpre said. “It is of utmost importance to ensure the health and safety of our fans, players and staff at Red Bull Arena. We will continue to work closely with both local and state health officials as we establish our protocols, beginning with the start of the 2021 Major League Soccer campaign.”
Red Bull Arena’s capacity is at 25,000, which would allow 3,750 RBNY fans in under current rules when MLS’ season begins Apr. 17.
Seton Hall University’s men’s basketball team — which also plays at Prudential Center — announced plans to bring fans back to The Rock on March 3 against Connecticut through an application process.
Rutgers University’s athletic department, as well as Sky Blue FC of NWSL — whom Gov. Phil Murphy and his wife First Lady Tammy Murphy own a stake in — have not yet made announcements on returning fans to stadiums. Notably, Rutgers’ men’s and women’s basketball team has no home games remaining after March 1.