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Only 20k fans? Read AD Sandy Barbour’s letter to PSU fans about seating at Beaver Stadium

Sandy Barbour
Photo by Penn State Athletics: AD Sandy Barbour

What will seating and ticketing be like this fall at Beaver Stadium? How many fans will be able to attend games? Many Penn State fans are still wondering that, and have been left in the dark for a good while about what to expect.

Penn State sent out the following letter by email to season ticket holders from AD Sandy Barbour on Wednesday. Nittany Sports Now obtained the letter and is running it in its entirety below.

As you can see, at this stage, less than 20,000 fans would be permitted into the stadium for a game. Even though state regulations allow for 50 percent capacity, the state’s 6 foot social distancing policies make it logistically impossible to get anywhere close to the actual 50 percent.

There is hope that by the fall the state’s 6 foot distancing guidelines will be lessened, to 3 feet or maybe even less. That would allow for many more fans to attend games, and Penn State is “hopeful to have full capacity for the 2021 season,” although that seems far fetched at this point.

Graphic by Penn State

Fans also should take note of the new mobile ticketing policy at the end of the letter. That could cause some fans a little confusion if they are only used to dealing with paper tickets.

Here is Barbour’s letter:

As Penn State Football’s spring practice comes to a close, the team has completed 15 very productive practices. We have seen great progress made and chemistry developing as they begin preparation for the 2021 season and our team is eager to take to the gridiron to represent dear old State this fall!

We took our first step to welcoming fans to Beaver Stadium by hosting first-year and senior University Park students and invited guests of our student-athletes, coaches and staff at select spring practices. We continue to plan for a full stadium scenario throughout the 2021 season, while monitoring local, state and national guidelines as we understand there may be prevailing health and safety guidelines that could affect crowd sizes. The Big Ten recently announced it will not make any regulations pertaining to crowd sizes this fall, rather, they will defer to local guidance of each institution as it relates to attendance policies.

We are hopeful to have full capacity for the 2021 season and know Nittany Nation is excited to return to make Beaver Stadium a true home field advantage and provide a one-of-a-kind experience to all involved in game day. To be able to do that, we need everyone to continue to do their part to stop the spread of the virus by following the guidelines, wearing masks and social distancing.

In the coming weeks, we will outline our ticketing plans based on a variety of scenarios, including our efforts to have a full stadium, as well as limited capacity options with 6-foot social distancing and 3-foot social distancing. As of April 28, the current state guidance is 50% capacity with six-foot physical distancing. While simple math would tell you that we could fit approximately 53,500 fans at 50% capacity, the reality is with six-foot social distancing, we are only able to accommodate less than 20,000 fans.

To date, we have worked with Populous and Ticketmaster to develop a potential pod seating system to achieve maximum attendance within the physical distancing requirements. An example of what that pod seating system looks like is below.

Regardless of the scenario, one transition you will see in 2021 is the conversion to mobile tickets for all fans as this allows for fewer touch points. We have utilized this system for student tickets during the 2019 season with overall success. We will provide a variety of resources regarding mobile ticketing this summer to make the transition as easy as possible for our fans.

We will continue to keep you informed as we progress in our plans for the fall, and as guidance changes. At this time, we continue to wait to have a clearer picture of our capacity before we send out our season ticket renewals. We will communicate again in late-May with more information. Until then, please continue to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 by following safety guidelines, wear a mask in public places, wash your hands frequently and practice physical distancing.

As always, we would not be able to do what we do without your tremendous support of Penn State Intercollegiate Athletics and our more than 800 student-athletes!

Thank you!

 We Are…

Sandy Barbour

Vice President for Intercollegiate Athletics

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