KANSAS CITY, Kan. — Sporting KC is back from the bubble and returned to the pitch Tuesday at Children’s Mercy Park for the first time in more than five months.
And for the first time since the pandemic, fans were in attendance at a professional sporting event, albeit far fewer than normal.
The return of fans was carefully planned out with requested arrival times based on seat locations, social distancing of parking spots and no tailgating allowed. Fans totaling 14% of the stadium’s 18,000 plus seat capacity are allowed inside Children’s Mercy Park
“It’s going to be a little bit different atmosphere, really seem empty in a big stadium with only 2,500 fans, but I’m very excited to get back, and we are playing great,” Kenneth Greenwood said before the team’s 5-2 loss to the Houston Dynamo.
Before they enter, each fan is temperature checked. Signs everywhere remind fans of social distancing guidelines, and though the seating groups are designed to be 6 feet apart, fans are required to wear masks at all times, except maybe for a quick bite or drink. All concessions and merchandise sales are cashless.
“If we can watch the game, we’ll do what we can to be able to get in,” Sarah Laundy said.
“As soon as we hit the gate, I’ll mask up. I don’t like it, but it’s worth it,” her husband Phil added.
The Chiefs and other franchises will likely be looking at how the night went and any lessons learned.
Sporting KC next plays at home next Wednesday and announced it planned a thorough cleaning of the stadium and high-touch areas before the next match.