For the first time in 2020, fans will be allowed to attend Major League Baseball games later this postseason. MLB announced Wednesday that a limited number of tickets will be available for NLCS and World Series games at Globe Life Field in Arlington, Texas.
Commissioner Rob Manfred recently said MLB was "pressing ahead" with plans to have fans in the stands in the NLCS and World Series. Texas is currently in Phase 3 of its reopening plan, which allows open-air stadiums to admit up to 50 percent capacity. Globe Field Field seats 40,300 and has a retractable roof. It's unclear whether the roof will be open for postseason games.
MLB says it has "received the appropriate approvals" to host fans, who will be seated in socially distanced four-person "pods" throughout the ballpark. Approximately 11,500 tickets will be made available, with 950 fans in suites and the rest scattered throughout the stands. Here's more on MLB's safety protocols:
- Tickets in the seating bowl will be sold in groups of four contiguous seats, called pods. Individuals may purchase a limit of one pod per NLCS and World Series game.
- Seats within each pod cannot be broken apart for sale.
- Each pod will be a minimum of six feet from each other.
- No seats will be sold within 20 feet of where a player can be located on the field, in the dugouts or in the bullpen.
- Masks will be mandatory for all fans except when actively eating or drinking at their ticketed seats.
- Hand sanitizing stations will be available throughout the ballpark.
- No bags will be permitted except for those that are carried for medical reasons or manufactured diaper bags that accompany infants and young children.
Team employees and their families, as well as the families of players, have been allowed to sit in the stands during the Wild Card Series this week. The ALDS and ALCS will be played at Petco Park and Dodger Stadium, though no fans will be allowed to attend. The NLDS will be played at Globe Life Field and Minute Maid Park. The entire NLCS will be played at Globe Life Field.
Allowing fans to attend NLCS and World Series games will give MLB another postseason revenue stream, though at most, there will be 14 games played and approximately 160,000 tickets sold. It's not much, but it is better than nothing after league finances were hurt by the pandemic and subsequent shutdown.
The NLCS will begin Mon., Oct. 12 and will run through Sun., Oct. 18. There will be no off-days in the series, so it's potentially seven games in seven days. The World Series will be begin Tues., Oct. 20 and run through Weds., Oct. 28. There will be the usual off days after Game 2 and Game 5.