Tuesday December 5, 2023

NBA Expects Full Capacity Next Season

  • NBA teams expect full capacity next season and hope to increase the number of live fans this year.
  • The league also announced a partnership with biometric identification company CLEAR.
Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports/Design: Alex Brooks
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The NBA wants to party like it’s 2019.

Full-capacity arenas are anticipated starting next season, an idea the league plans to make safer through its new partnership with CLEAR, a company that uses biometric technology to identify people.

The NBA also hopes to increase fan attendance this season, up from 10-25% capacity for most teams, though some still do not allow fans at games.

Already in use at airports and some sports venues for ID purposes, CLEAR added health screening functions during the pandemic. Fans can register with the company and upload vaccination and COVID-19 test documentation. The app also may survey fans on their symptoms before rendering a verdict on whether it’s safe for them to attend a game.

  • The NFL also expects full capacity next season. This past season was played in front of little to no fans, depending on the venue.
  • MLB teams, most of which play in open-air stadiums, have been more permissive, allowing around 20-50% capacity in most places, with the Texas Rangers allowing full capacity for opening day.
  • The NHL continues to face challenges. Some teams still don’t allow fans, and the Vancouver Canucks haven’t played since March 24 due to a major COVID outbreak on the team. 

CLEAR’s Health Pass screening technology is already used by a third of NBA teams, and the new partnership will make it available to the rest of the league.

MLB teams, among others, have embraced contactless payments and ticketing, as well as  mobile concession ordering to create a fan experience with minimal risk.

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