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UPDATED: Signs suggest Massachusetts is closing in on some fans returning to stadiums

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The New England Patriots anticipate fans in the stands in MA during football season

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: NOV 14 Notre Dame at Boston College Photo by Fred Kfoury III/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Update 2/25: Per the Boston Globe, Charlie Baker will be announcing today that venues holding over 5,000 people, including Fenway Park, Gillette Stadium, and the TD Garden will be allowed to reopen with reduced capacity on March 22.


NOTE: This article is intended to offer a news update related to BC fans, and not intended to suggest appropriate public health/COVID policies, or the pace at which stadiums should be open for fans.

We are not interested in the comments here hosting that debate, or in people posting COVID denial, etc. and will remove posts that go down that road.

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Multiple signs indicate that Massachusetts could be closing in on at least letting some fans in to sporting venues in the short term, and moving toward full capacity in the fall in time for football season, as the COVID-19 vaccine rollout continues in the state and across the country.

In a recent letter to season ticket holders reported on by the Boston Globe and CBS Boston, the New England Patriots wrote that they are optimistic about having fans back for the 2021 football season at full capacity.

While Boston College theoretically could be subject to Boston-specific public health guidelines it’s fair to assume that as goes Gillette Stadium and the Patriots, so goes policies for Boston College’s fall football season. Boston College recently sent out a letter to their own season ticket holders, beginning the season ticket renewal process for 2021, and saying they are “excited to welcome you back to Alumni Stadium in the fall.”

In the short term, with a few BC sports still underway for this season, limited-capacity guidance could potentially bring some fans back to BC games, though it seems unlikely that will happen for hockey or basketball.

With New York becoming the most recent state to allow limited-capacity, masked fans in to sporting venues like Madison Square Garden for NHL and NBA games, Massachusetts governor Charlie Baker was asked about the possibility yesterday, and he said “Stay tuned,” indicating that something to that effect may be in the works.

It is a fair assumption that there will be no fans in attendance at the very few remaining home men’s/women’s hockey and basketball games, however guidance from the state could impact the ability of fans to attend outdoor spring events like baseball, softball, and lacrosse.

One other thing worth keeping an eye on is whether fans could theoretically attend tournament games in hockey. The ACC is allowing family/guests of players and staff to attend the basketball tournament in Greensboro, but not general public attendance.

The NCAA has indicated that if state guidelines allow it, they will allow up to 25% capacity at tournament games this year, including hockey. The NCAA men’s hockey regionals are in Albany, NY; Bridgeport, CT; Loveland, CO; and Fargo, ND. The Frozen Four is in Pittsburgh, PA. With the exception of Fargo, which is already allowing limited-capacity fans, we do not know yet how other venues will handle it.