New York’s Madison Square Garden is welcoming back fans starting Feb. 23 with the first of three Knicks games as the state tiptoes towards reopening with large venues the first in line to allow live audiences.
Barclays Center, home of the Brooklyn Nets, has said it will also allow a limited number of fans at home games starting with the Nets-Kings on Feb. 23.
Governor Andrew Cuomo last week allowed large arenas to reopen at 10% capacity, which MSG said Tuesday means it can seat roughly 2,000 guests. It will offer tickets to season holders and suite members first starting with the Knicks vs. Golden State, the day the new rule takes effect, followed by faceoffs with Sacramento (Feb. 25) and Indiana (Feb. 27).
MSG will also let allow fans into its first three Rangers games vs. Boston (Feb. 26 and 28) and Buffalo (March 3).
“Madison Square Garden is the world’s most famous arena because of the people who perform here and the fans that inspire them. We are thrilled that we can finally start to welcome fans back, beginning with Knicks and Rangers games, and be part of this important step for our city,” said Andrew Lustgarten, president and CEO of MSG Sports and president of MSG Entertainment. “While we currently have limited capacity, we’re focused on creating the safest and most enjoyable environment, with strict operating protocols developed with state and health officials,”
To ensure the broadest attendance possible, members can buy one socially distanced seating pod consisting of two seats for one of the first three home games. MSG said it’s offering a wide range of price points starting at $50. It will share more details later on tickets for future games.
The venue said it will host and recognize essential workers at every Knicks and Rangers game.
Following New York State guidelines, each guest, including those who are vaccinated, must present a negative PCR Covid-19 test taken within 72 hours of game day along with matching ID. Attendees must also fill out a (and pass) a health survey available on the MSG app 12 hours prior to the game and have a temperature screening upon arrival.
Each game must be cleared with the state Department of Health.
Gov. Cuomo moved to allow fans at venues with capacity of 10,000 after successfully hosting them, with rapid Covid testing, at a Buffalo Bills playoffs game in January. He has sounded hopeful that other venues could also reopen using the same health and safety protocols.