Oct 19, 2020 - Sports

The sports world has entered the era of limited fan attendance

Fans during Sunday's Steelers-Browns game in Pittsburgh. Photo: Joe Sargent/Getty Images

Following the No Sports Era this spring, we transitioned to the No Fans Era, with bubble tournaments and empty stadiums becoming a staple of the summer.

The state of play: We have now entered the Limited Fans Era, a transition that has gone somewhat unnoticed due to shifting attendance policies.

The latest: Look no further than this weekend, when many of the biggest sporting events in the U.S. had fans in the stands.

  • NFL: Eight of Sunday's 11 games had fans (Charlotte, Indianapolis, Jacksonville, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Nashville, Miami and Tampa Bay). Tonight's Cardinals-Cowboys game in Dallas will make it nine this week.
  • MLB: 10,920 fans were on hand at Globe Life Field for Game 7 of the NLCS. Roughly the same number will be in attendance throughout the World Series.
  • College football: Over 19,000 fans watched Alabama beat Georgia at Bryant-Denny Stadium, 18,000 watched Florida State upset UNC at home, 11,000 attended Clemson-Georgia Tech. The list goes on.
  • Boxing: Fans haven't been allowed at a noteworthy boxing event in the U.S. since Top Rank started staging fights again on June 9 inside its Vegas bubble. But on Saturday, 250 fans were permitted to attend the Lomachenko-Lopez fight at the same MGM Grand venue.
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