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Raptors, Magic, USF Will Allow Fans Into Basketball Games

exterior of Amalie Arena
Mark Schreiner / WUSF Public Media
Amalie Arena, seen during the 2018 NHL All-Star Game, will welcome a limited number of fans when the NBA's Toronto Raptors begin their relocated season in Tampa.

The Toronto Raptors, who will start the NBA season at Tampa's Amalie Arena, along with the Orlando Magic and the USF Bulls basketball teams, will all allow a limited number of fans into their games.

Tampa Bay area basketball fans will soon be allowed to see their favorite professional and college teams play in person.

The Toronto Raptors, who will begin the NBA season playing in Tampa because of Canadian travel restrictions, will allow up to 3,800 people into each of the 11 regular-seasons games played at Amalie Arena.

Friday's only preseason game will allow 3,200 fans. No floor seats will be available, and no seats within 30 feet of the court will be sold.

Fans over the age of 2 will have to wear a mask when they’re at the game, and physical distancing will be required in the stands and other areas of the arena. Fans will also be required to take a health survey screening before entering Amalie, all payments will be cashless, and bags will be prohibited inside the arena.

Tickets will go on sale Thursday morning.

The Orlando Magic announced earlier this week they plan to allow up to 4,000 fans into the Amway Center for their regular-season games.

The team will build up to that, with no fans other than family members of the Magic organization permitted for the preseason and then smaller crowds for the first five regular-season home contests.

And at the college level, the University of South Florida will begin welcoming up to about 1,200 fans in physically distanced pods of between two to four people each to American Athletic Conference basketball games at the Yuengling Center.

There will also be reserved seating for up to 300 students, mostly in their traditional baseline seating area.

All games will be ticketed on a single-game basis, with six doubleheaders set with one ticket provided for both games.

"We are excited to have the opportunity for a limited number of fans to see our exciting men's and women's basketball teams compete in person when the conference seasons begin," USF Vice President of Athletics Michael Kelly said in a press release. "We greatly appreciate university leadership and local health officials' guidance and assistance as we prepare to welcome fans back to the Yuengling Center.

"Our team has worked hard to create a safe and exciting game day environment for our student-athletes, coaches and fans alike. We will continue to closely monitor the situation surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic and consult local, state and university health officials in regards to attendance as the season progresses."

Fans will be allowed into women's games starting Saturday against Houston, and men's games starting next Tuesday against Wichita State.

Mark Schreiner is the assistant news director and intern coordinator for WUSF News.
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