Stadium Hosts Limited Capacity of 25 Percent Starting April 9
Soccer fans cheering at soccer games … this is what people have missed since the COVID-19 pandemic and now safely spaced apart and with only 25% capacity, the Timbers and Thorns welcome fans back next month. “Everyone is excited to have our fans back!” #RCTID
Playing a professional soccer match in an empty stadium is void of the usual energy and enthusiasm which normally oozes out of soccer fans. Not fun for the fans, players or coaches, it has been a first for our generation. Just one of the many COVID-19 safety guidelines we have all endured in the last year — some areas of the US are now easing or lifting these requirements. Oregon is one of these states.
The Oregon Health Authority announced today that it will allow 25% capacity at outdoor live sporting events. Immediately, the Portland Timbers and Portland Thorns FC followed with their own announcement that Providence Park will host fans for all home matches beginning April 9, when Thorns FC play host to KC NWSL in their first match of the NWSL Challenge Cup.
The Timbers will host fans on April 13, when the club plays C.D. Marathón in a Round of 16 Scotiabank Concacaf Champions League match.
And, yes, concession stands will be open.
“We are sincerely grateful to Governor Brown and the Oregon Health Authority for their hard work and support in getting fans back safely at Providence Park,” said owner and CEO Merritt Paulson.
“As we enter a period of great optimism with falling COVID-19 rates and increased vaccine deployment, the protection of our fans, staff and players remains our top priority and we will diligently follow all public health protocols to ensure our plan is executed safely,” said Paulson. “It will be a special moment to have our fans back in the stands on April 9 and we hope that on the current trajectory, we will be able to safely increase capacity throughout the summer.”
The Portland Timbers and Portland Thorns FC president of business Mike Golub spoke to the press today confirming that while they may not be the leaders of allowing fans back in stadiums as other sports have done so already, they thrilled to open their doors for limited capacity at home games. (For example, at the 2021 NFL Super Bowl 22,000 seats were filled with fans, this represented roughly 30 percent of the total capacity.)
The maximum capacity for matches under the current plan is 25 percent of the stadium’s official capacity of 25,218. The Thorns FC match on April 9 will be the first live professional sporting event in Oregon with fans since March 10, 2020 and will be among the first with fans on the West Coast.
A complete set of health and safety protocols for events at Providence Park will be available at Timbers.com and ThornsFC.com. Safety measures in place include cashless transactions, mandatory mask wearing, completely digital ticketing, a clear bag policy, online ordering for food, beverage and merchandise, expanded sanitation protocols and spaced pod seating.
Tickets for the first two Thorns FC matches will go on sale March 25 to Annual Members and an on-sale date for the first two Timbers matches will be announced in the coming weeks.
Annual Members will have the first opportunity to use account credit to purchase tickets to the socially distanced seating arrangements.
Thorns FC will play two home matches and two road matches as part of the 2021 NWSL Challenge Cup, squaring off against Cascadia rival OL Reign on April 21 at 7 p.m. (Pacific) in their second home match of the tournament. The full NWSL regular-season schedule will be announced at a later date.
The Timbers begin their 2021 SCCL campaign by first traveling to face C.D. Marathón at Estadio Olimpico Metropolitano in the first leg of the Round of 16 in San Pedro Sula, Honduras on Tuesday, April 6, before hosting the second leg on April 13. Additionally, Portland takes on Houston Dynamo FC at Providence Park in the club’s 2021 MLS home opener on Saturday, April 24, at 7:30 p.m. (Pacific).
The remainder of the schedule will be announced later this month.