Sunday December 3, 2023

From Zero to 100,000 — Sports Return to Full Stadiums

Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports/Design: Alex Brooks
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After more than a year of quiet stadiums filled with cardboard faces, sports are returning to normal — fans are back, many stadiums are at full capacity, and business is booming.

In a new $10 million campaign, Bud Light said it will pay for and give away 100,000 tickets for baseball, hockey, football, and basketball games. Fans of legal age will even get a free beer.

The promotion and others like it come as more venues announce their full-scale returns.

  • Mercedes-Benz Stadium, home of the Atlanta Falcons and Atlanta United, is opening its doors on May 15 with a full capacity of 71,000. 
  • Massachusetts will allow 100% capacity on Aug. 1, including at Gillette Stadium, home of the New England Patriots.
  • Truist Park, home of the Atlanta Braves, plans to open on May 7 with a full capacity of 41,084.
  • The Texas Rangers allowed full capacity (40,300) on Opening Day this year, the only MLB team to do so.

Fans play a massive role in the success of a team or league’s business. Without them, MLB teams lost $1 billion in revenue in 2020, for example.

In March, NBA commissioner Adam Silver said he expects full capacity at stadiums next season, and NFL commissioner Roger Goodell said the same for football.

Silver has also said that 40% of NBA revenue comes from game nights with fans in attendance.

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