With pod seating in place, the annual NCAA men’s baseball tournament will kick off today with March Madness arena capacities lower than anticipated.
Six Indianapolis-area venues will be used to host the 2021 NCAA men’s baseball tournament–Lucas Oil Stadium (two courts), Bankers Life Fieldhouse, Hinkle Fieldhouse, Indiana Farmers Coliseum, Mackey Arena and Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall–with capacities ranging from 8,500 at one of the Lucas Oil Stadium courts (22 percent capacity) to the 500 fans, or 3 percent capacity, for Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall.
The NCAA had planned on running venues at 25 percent capacity, but after examining seating arrangements and social distancing guidelines, the decision was make to lower capacities. These March Madness arena capacities will be reexamined during the course of the tournament, according to NCAA Senior Vice President of Basketball Dan Gavitt, who spoke at the pre-tourney press conference.
“Our venues and host institutions and conferences have things very well in place. Many of these venues have hosted some level of fans recently,” Gavitt said. “We’re confident they have had some experience in welcoming guests and have those plans in place to keep everybody healthy and safe.”
For instance, the capacity for Bankers Life Fieldhouse will depend on the time needed to clean and sanitize the venue between games, which varies based on scheduled tip times, Gavitt said.
Fans will be seated in pods of two, four or six. Fans are required to wear masks at all times, except when eating or drinking.
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