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Sports pave the way for large-scale events

Sports events across the world have been permitted to invite tens of thousands of visitors, provided stadia follow Covid-compliant formats

By IQ on 23 Sep 2020

Poznań Stadium in Poland hosted 17,000 spectators for Sunday's football match

Poznań Stadium in Poland hosted 17,000 spectators for Sunday's football match

image © Wikimedia Commons/Carte

Sport is leading the way for large-scale events, drawing visitors by the tens of thousands whilst complying with coronavirus restrictions.

Last Sunday (20 September), one of Poland’s premier football clubs, Lech Poznan, set a new record for the biggest crowd to attend a sporting event in Europe since March – selling 17,000 tickets.

Poznań Stadium operated at just under 50% of its usual capacity of 42,837 for the match in order to comply with Polish regulation, which currently states that every second seat in the audience can be made available to the public, alternately in rows, but not exceeding 50% of the total number of seats.

In Australia, the New South Wales (NSW) government recently announced that major sporting events at selected Sydney stadiums can increase crowds from 25% to 50% capacity, up to a maximum of 40,000 spectators, from 1 October.

Selected stadiums include Stadium Australia (cap. 83,500), Bankwest Stadium (30,000) and Sydney Cricket Ground (48,000), which will be permitted to host ticketed and seated-only events under Coronavirus protocol.

Each stadium will also be required to employ a unique chequerboard seating arrangement – which will be divided into different zones to avoid mixing – and a ticket allocation process that will ensure the social distancing of participants when seated.

“Our number one priority is the health and safety, however it is no secret we’re also focused on firing up the economy”

“Our number one priority is the health and safety of the people of NSW, however it is no secret we’re also focused on firing up the economy,” said NSW premier Gladys Berejiklian.

“Safely allowing more fans at in-demand major sporting events will bring enjoyment, employment and help stimulate the NSW economy.”

This decision will benefit the National Rugby League for games in its Premiership finals and State of Origin.

Elsewhere, the Turkish Formula 1 grand prix sold more than 40,000 tickets in six hours last Wednesday – an astounding number for Covid times and yet a fraction of the 100,000 tickets organisers hope to sell for the race at Istanbul Park circuit.

According to Intercity chairman Vural Ak, a socially distanced six-figure crowd can easily be accommodated with the track at less than half its capacity. “We know the capacity of this track,” he told reporters at a press conference earlier this month. “Around 220,000 spectators can watch the race in the grandstands and in the open areas.

“At the moment, for safety reasons, if we close some sections, about 100,000 spectators will be able to watch the race by following social distancing rules.”


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