FACEOFF: Should Fans Be Allowed At Sporting Events?

Sydney Campbell and Camilla Bondy

Yes (S.C.)

COVID-19 has caused unprecedented events and changes to everyday life. The pandemic has truly started “a new normal,” with live concerts and fans at sporting events acting as the most missed past times. Now, the shift for the allowance of fans to gradually head back to the arenas to watch their favorite teams should start taking place. 

For the past 10 months, fans could not attend any sporting events. Now, arenas and stadiums have begun to slowly allow the return of fans with immense COVID-19 safety precautions. 

American Airlines Arena, the home of the Miami Heat, began allowing fans to return to watch the Heat play live on Jan. 25. 

The safety precautions they have put into place goes as follows: 

  • Mandatory mask policy for those over the age of two (people must wear masks over their nose and mouth at all times).
  • Social distancing of six feet at all times.
  • Cashless, contactless payment. 
  • No food available for purchase, fans can purchase beverages but may only consume them in designated areas.
  • COVID-19 detection dogs sniff patrons before entry (if one individual gets sniffed out, the whole party can not go inside).

The arena has a capacity of 19,600, but they only allow fewer than 2,00 guests per game during this transition period.

One might wonder if this creates more danger for the players. Guests sitting within 30 feet of the court have to receive an on-site, rapid COVID-19 test on arrival in order to guarantee the safety of players, coaches, staff and the fans themselves. 

As far as in school sporting events go, as long as students, staff and family show respect and follow any implemented safety precautions, attending games in-person can and should start. 

At the end of the day, the risk an individual takes regarding COVID-19 remains deeply personal and drastically different from person to person.  If someone feels safe going to a sporting event and acknowledges the risk, then I do not see a problem with allowing fans to sit in the arenas and watch their favorite players or for families and friends to watch at school.Although safety measures do not completely get rid of the risk of COVID, as long as these precautions stay in place the allowance of fans at sporting events whether professional or school, should continue and allow people to get out of the house and have fun after all, quarantine has done a number on people’s mental health.


No (C.B.)

Not only has this pandemic caused many changes to almost everyone’s daily lives, but it has also changed school sporting events. Schools no longer allow fans in the stands, and I believe that is a good idea.

Coming from the viewpoint of an athlete, not having fans at my games makes it feel like more of a scrimmage. 

Although the games are live streamed on different platforms for different sports, sometimes the internet connection fails or the live stream crashes. 

For people that play outdoor sports, such as lacrosse, softball, baseball and football. fans have permission to watch from the outside of the gate in a socially distanced manner.

Unfortunately, for people who play indoor sports, such as basketball, volleyball and badminton fans must watch on a livestream, through Instagram, Youtube or any other platform.

I do not believe that fans should be allowed in the stands, especially for indoor sports. 

The pandemic has already limited the amount of games teams play along with the decreasing the chances that they can actually play every single game. A season could end at any given time and if fans watch in-person and someone happened to show up with COVID-19, the team would have to go under quarantine for a two week period, resulting in a loss of games.  

Aside from school sporting events, fans should not attend professional sporting events either. I feel that it causes more problems, digging us deeper into the hole in which we have tried to get out of.

Professional athletes have grown accustomed to hearing the loud chants of the crowds; however, they must adapt to the changes. Instead of fans filling the whole arena or stadium, cardboard cutouts of people fill the chairs as well. This decreases the amount of people allowed in the stands, but also allows the athletes to feel a sense of normalcy.