(Reuters) – Major League Baseball fans will be able to attend a game for the first time this season as Globe Life Field in Arlington, Texas, opens its gates for a limited number of attendees at the National League Championship Series (NLCS) and World Series.
Game 1 of the NLCS is set for Oct. 12, as MLB looks to close the book on a chaotic and delay-filled season in which numerous players and personnel tested positive for COVID-19, after the viral pandemic forced a months-long delay of Opening Day.
MLB and the Texas Rangers, who play at Globe Life Field, are putting about 11,500 tickets on sale next Tuesday for each game in the two series, with all attendees required to wear masks and practice social distancing, MLB said on Wednesday.
The stadium, which seats more than 40,000 people but opened to empty stands in July, will be the first-ever neutral site for a World Series, and no seats will be available within 20 feet (6 m) of where players are located at any time during the games.
An MLB spokesman said there were no plans to permit fans at the American League Championship Series in San Diego.
Unlike the National Football League, which has so far allowed teams to use their discretion in determining whether to welcome fans, MLB did not allow attendees at games this year and tightened rules in August for teams to mitigate the risks of COVID-19.
MLB is among a handful of professional sports organizations looking to close out their delayed seasons, with both the National Basketball Association and the Women’s National Basketball Association holding their finals in quarantined “bubble” environments in their respective Florida campuses.
The National Hockey League just crowned its new Stanley Cup champion after staging its playoffs in the Canadian cities of Toronto and Edmonton, Alberta.
(Reporting by Amy Tennery; Editing by Peter Cooney)