Texas A&M is planning to fill Kyle Field up halfway when college football kicks off this fall.
In a teleconference with the media on Friday, Texas A&M athletic director Ross Bjork said the school is planning on fans in attendance at 50% capacity this season, with official plans set to be unveiled at some point next week.
“Current executive order by Governor Abbott is 50% of normal operating limits and that’s what we’re putting forward,” said Bjork. “We have a few details to work out relative to our capacity plan but we’re ready to announce that and we’re just waiting on a few more things and I hope that sometime next week, we can get that announcement out about our stadium plan.”
As for who will get to attend, the Texas A&M AD says season ticket holders will be prioritized, with student ticket sales being reduced.
“Right now based on our season ticket sales that all season ticket holders who have a ticket as of today would be accommodated in that plan we would have to reduce the number of students,” he said. “Normally we sell about 34,000 students tickets per season, all sports passes we would have to reduce that down but right now we would be able to accommodate all of our season ticket holders and as big as Kyle Field is, the capacity is actually more than what the listed number of seats is with the concourses and the club spaces and the capacity gets to a little bit over 110,000 for spectators, even though we only have 102,733 seats.
“So our normal operating capacity gets us to a point where we have, we have plenty of room to accommodate season ticket holders, and then we will have to reduce the student number.”
As of today, A&M has sold roughly 45,000 season tickets in the general public. With season ticket numbers rising, the school believes they will have to cut student ticket sales in half.
Despite ongoing uncertainty in the sports world due to the coronavirus, the demand remains.
“We can only go really off of our data and our data says that we’ve sold right around 45,000 season tickets to our season ticket holders in the general public, if you will, and then like I said, we’ll have to cut that student number in half,” said Bjork. “And then the other data that talks to us is we know that when people actually have a ticket in their hand that not everyone shows up. So using that data we know that there’s never 100% redemption of our tickets. That hasn’t happened the last three years.
“That’s just the nature of people that have things come up, or whatever the reason might be. And then if you take the virus, there’s probably going to be a natural reduction even more so. So, the fans I talked to, the folks that I interact with they want the personal choice to attend or not. ”
In terms of specific requirements, Bjork says the school will require face coverings and recommend high-risk individuals not attend.
“We will recommend if you’re in a high-risk category that you probably don’t want to come this year,” he said. “Obviously, the face covering is going to be a requirement to enter the stadium, to walk around the stadium. We will have ushers and lots of people reinforcing that message, we’ll do a lot of things on the video board to reinforce that but we want it to really be a personal choice and that’s the direction that we’re headed with our capacity plan.”
In a meeting with the Lexington Rotary Club earlier this week, UK AD Mitch Barnhart said Kroger Field’s capacity this fall will likely depend on the leaders in Frankfort and what they decide is the safest way to go about the season.
“In terms of capacity, I think a lot of that’s going to come out of Frankfort,” Barnhart said. “We’re watching the Kentucky Derby very closely to see how the Derby is managed. That comes up on Sept. 5. Others states, you’ve heard 50 percent, you’ve heard different numbers, and social distancing.”
“I will say, I don’t know how we’ll ever be at 100 percent capacity or what we’ll call that,” Barnhart continued. “We’ll have to figure something up. I would love to have fans in the stands. I don’t know where I fall on percentages, but I want as many people in there watching the Cats as we can get in there. So we’ll leave it at that. We’ve gotta step through football first before we figure out basketball. One step at a time.”