Mariners to allow 9,000 fans at T-Mobile Park beginning opening day
For the first time since 2019, fans will be allowed back at T-Mobile Park to cheer on the Mariners when they open the season next month.
Washington Governor Jay Inslee announced Thursday afternoon that the state will move to Phase 3 of the Healthy Washington recovery plan beginning March 22, which will include allowing the Mariners to have up to 25% capacity for fans who physically distance and wear masks. The team then announced that the number of fans allowed at games to start the 2021 season will be slightly less than that 25% mark.
In a statement released shortly after Inslee’s announcement, the Mariners said up to 9,000 fans will be allowed at the stadium beginning on opening day, which is set for April 1 in a 7:10 p.m. contest against the San Francisco Giants. T-Mobile Park holds roughly 48,000 fans at full capacity, so the 9,000 mark is just under 19%.
“We have been working closely with state and local officials the past several months to get ready for this day,” Mariners chairman and managing partner John Stanton said in a press release. “The health and safety of our fans, players and employees is our number one consideration. With the guidance of experts and best practices for health and safety, we are thrilled to be able to welcome fans back to T-Mobile Park for the first time since 2019.”
The Mariners state in their press release that tickets to only their first 11 games will initially go on sale. The team will also implement several new policies and procedures in order to protect health and safety, including digital ticketing, cashless transactions, and no bags or food from outside the park allowed inside.
In a session with members of the media Wednesday at spring training in Arizona, Stanton spoke at length about the organization’s preparation for welcoming fans back.
“I have spent a good deal of my time, and really the last month-plus, working with King County and working with the State of Washington, and we right now we are hopeful we will have fans in the building,” Stanton said Wednesday. “We are excited about that and we’re planning for it, we’re training our staff and doing all the things that we need to do in order to be able to accommodate (fans).”
Mariners manager Scott Servais also spoke before Inslee’s announcement Thursday about the team’s desire to play in front of a crowd in 2021.
“It would mean a lot to our players, myself,” Servais said. “We desperately missed it last year. I know many teams have come out and said they are going to open it up, 25, 50 percent. Even some (the Texas Rangers) have said 100 percent, which is a little bit alarming. I really am hopeful we do the right thing in Seattle and let some of our fans back in the ballpark. It does mean the world to us. The excitement they bring and I think our fan base is looking forward to laying eyes on a lot of these young players.”