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There could be some fans in Chicago ballparks on Opening Day

At least, according to one report.

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The Cubs will face the Pirates again on Opening Day 2021
Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

Last week, I wrote here about one report that said that fans might be allowed at ballparks in Chicago, both for the Cubs and White Sox, on Opening Day.

Late Friday, there was a report by David Kaplan on Twitter that this appears closer to fruition:

As of now, this appears to be just a “plan,” with nothing officially announced by the city of Chicago. There have been some other cities who have approved fans at MLB ballparks for this year, at a small percentage of capacity, including Fenway Park in Boston and both MLB parks in New York.

While nothing has been made official — and the Cubs have had no public comment on any of this — it would seem likely that we are looking at a very small number of fans, probably no more than 20 percent of capacity, which would be around 8,000. This article from last July in The Athletic noted that the Cubs (along with some other MLB teams) had been working with a company called 3D Digital Venues, which created a “Social Distancing Manager” program to help teams figure out how they could space out fans:

The Cubs have been trying out different strategies because of the unique design of Wrigley Field.

So let’s say the Cubs wanted 90 percent of their available allotment to be sold in groups of two and four, with 10 percent split between groups of five and singles. The Cubs might not get to 8,000 fans given their internal restrictions that eliminate around 18 percent of their available seating, but even with conservative estimates, they could service between 4,500 and 7,000 per game, based on simulations shown to The Athletic.

However many they wind up getting permission for, if it’s granted, it seems very unlikely that any tickets would be offered, at least early in the season, to anyone but Cubs season-ticket holders, since there are far more than 8,000 season tickets held.

It might be better for the city and the teams to wait a few more weeks to see where things are with vaccinations, etc. At that time they might be able to have a larger capacity. Perhaps by late summer, it might be safe for teams to have larger crowds.

As always, we await developments.


SHOULD the city of Chicago allow fans in Chicago ballparks on Opening Day?

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WILL the city of Chicago allow fans in Chicago ballparks on Opening Day?

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