Arizona State will be allowing a limited number of fans for men’s and women’s spring sports, the athletic department told Arizona Sports.
“Following the approval from the Pac-12 Conference and university presidents, and in consultation with local and university health officials, we’re excited to announce the implementation of limited fan attendance at outdoor athletic competitions, beginning with baseball and women’s soccer this weekend,” Arizona State vice president for university athletics Ray Anderson said.
Earlier on Thursday, head baseball coach Tracy Smith said he was hopeful that fans would be back in the stands at some point this season.
Spring sports include baseball, softball, golf, tennis, water polo, volleyball, tennis, and track and field.
ASU’s athletic program added that fans will be limited for ticketed events such as baseball, softball and soccer, while only family and friends will be permitted for sports that aren’t ticketed where physical distancing is challenging such as tennis and sand volleyball.
“Sun Devil Athletics has worked diligently with the appropriate authorities to solidify a plan to safely welcome back our fans,” Anderson said. “The health and safety of all parties remains our number one priority and we ask our supporters to be patient and comply with the new protocols to ensure the safest environment for all.
“This is a big step forward for the Sun Devil community and with diligence from all, we look forward to seeing you in the stands supporting our Sun Devils.”
Arizona State had previously only allowed friends and family at men’s and women’s basketball games due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The last time ASU fans would have been able to attend a game was mid-March 2020.
Tickets for the general public will begin to go on sale Friday morning at 9 a.m. for the baseball team’s matchup against Utah on Friday evening. The capacity for those games will be roughly 1,800, which is 25% of the available seats.
Women’s soccer will have walk-up availability on Sunday as it hosts Washington.
The Arizona health department on Thursday reported the number of confirmed or suspected COVID-19 inpatients in the state’s hospitals decreased to 1,072, the fewest since Nov. 3.
The number of ICU beds used by COVID-19 patients also fell to 343, the fewest since Nov. 12.
Arizona’s weekly percent positivity for COVID-19 diagnostic testing, an indicator of how much the virus is spreading in the community, is at a four-month low.
Of the 21,803 people tested so far this week, 6% received a positive result. Last week’s percent positivity was 7% for 80,446 people, the lowest rate since mid-October.