Penn State Outlines Potential 2021 Football Attendance Scenarios

Penn State Athletics provided fans Wednesday with a brief look at the department’s planning for next fall’s football season, which could include limited attendance, pod seating, and mobile ticketing across the board.

In an email sent to season ticket holders Wednesday, Athletics said next fall’s attendance policies will reflect local guidelines, noting that the Big Ten won’t provide any conference-wide regulations. Current Pennsylvania protocols allow outdoor venues like Beaver Stadium to fill to 50% capacity — about 53,500 fans following some quick math.

But once social distancing measures are taken into account, Athletics said, Beaver Stadium could accommodate just about 20,000 fans under current state guidelines. However, there’s a lot of time for those rules to potentially loosen before Penn State kicks off for its home opener against Ball State on September 11.

Moving forward, Penn State said pod seating could be implemented if social distancing rules are still in place come September. This schematic, drawn up with the help of Populous and Ticketmaster, shows what Beaver Stadium’s bleachers could look like with physical distancing requirements still met.

Fans and students who attended Penn State’s spring practices this month sat in pods similar to those shown above. However, those groupings were limited to just three people each.

Penn State also said it’s developing plans for scenarios where 6-foot and 3-foot social distancing needs to be observed. The department is also working out procedures where a full stadium would be permitted, too.

“We are hopeful to have full capacity for the 2021 season and know Nittany Nation is excited to return to make Beaver Stadium a true home-field advantage and provide a one-of-a-kind experience to all involved in game day,” Barbour said. “To be able to do that, we need everyone to continue to do their part to stop the spread of the virus by following the guidelines, wearing masks and social distancing.”

No matter how many fans are in Beaver Stadium next fall, Penn State said all attendees will use mobile ticketing to cut down on “touch points” between fans and staff. Athletics introduced mobile ticketing for students in 2019, which wasn’t always the smoothest system, to say the least.

As we’ve seen quite often throughout the past year, plans and guidelines will may change. Penn State said fans can expect to hear a clearer plan for next fall’s football season by late May. The department said it’s waiting to send out season ticket renewals until it can get a clearer picture of what the fall season may look like.

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About the Author

Matt DiSanto

Matt proudly served as Onward State’s managing editor for two years until graduating from Penn State in May 2022. Now, he’s off in the real world doing real things. Send him an email ([email protected]) or follow him on Twitter (@mattdisanto_) to stay in touch.

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