Stan Kasten: “We consider this one more marker on the road back to normal. That is our hope.”
Nearly all of the 15,596 fans at Dodger Stadium were spread out on Saturday night, per social distancing requirements from the state and county. But in two sections in the loge, every seat was sold, roughly 500 in all, as a trial run for what could happen regularly beginning May 11.
“If everything goes smoothly, we expect to expand the program, maybe by the next homestand, to have many more sections,” said Dodgers CEO Stan Kasten on Saturday. “We consider this one more marker on the road back to normal. That is our hope.”
Every fan in the section had to show proof of full vaccination, or for those ages 3-15 proof of a negative COVID-19 test within the last 72 hours. Masks are required, except when eating or drinking, but there are no social distancing requirements, which allowed the Dodgers to sell every seat in sections 166 and 168 of the loge section on Saturday.
“Obviously, we want as many people in here as possible, as quickly as possible,” Kasten said. “The inherent problem is, while we are in the orange tier, even when we move to the yellow tier, the six-foot distance remains. That’s a geometry problem.
“We’re allowed 33 percent right now, but we’re only selling 27 percent because social distancing makes reaching 33 percent impossible. So the only way to get numbers up is to have sections where there’s no distance, like the fully vaccinated section. The more we can do this, the better.”
Through nine home games so far this season, the Dodgers are averaging 15,148 fans per game. Getting to 33 percent would mean another 3,000 fans or so at Dodger Stadium, and potentially even higher if Los Angeles County moves into a less restrictive tier, which could increase capacity for the entire stadium.
“Every one of these things that we can pull off gets us a little closer to what the governor has pointed to as a return to normal some time in June,” Kasten said. “A lot of things have to happen for that to come true, but that’s certainly what we’re hoping.”