Barclays Center

New York's Plans to Reopen Arenas Won't Come Cheap for Fans Looking to Attend Games

Anyone looking to see a game in person at Barclays Center will have a very different experience than what they're used to — and will have to dole out a lot more cash

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New York City will soon take a massive step on the road to recovery, with arenas and stadiums being allowed to reopen their doors for fans.

But anyone looking to see a game in person will have a very different experience than what they're used to — and will have to dole out a lot more cash.

Barclays Center is set to host the first game played with fans in New York in about 11 months, with the Brooklyn Nets taking on the Sacramento Kings. Those looking to catch the Nets' big three of Kyrie Irving, Kevin Durant and James Harden will have to agree to take two COVID tests before even stepping foot inside the arena.

The first test is self-administered, and must be sent back at least 72 hours before the game.

"They will send it into the lab. Presumably, they will be a negative result, and we will let them know they are clear to come," said John Abbamondi, the CEO for BSE Global, which is the parent company of the Nets and Barclays Center.

Once at the door of the stadium, fans will be tested again — just like how it was handled in Buffalo for the Bills playoff game. This second test comes with rapid results back in six minutes. Staff at the arena have to go through the same testing requirements as well.

Capacity will be capped at 10 percent, which applies to New York's other massive sporting venues, like Citi Field, Yankee Stadium and Madison Square Garden. Masks and social distancing will be required at all those facilities as well.

It's the latest major step in the road to recovery for New York, with Gov. Andrew Cuomo announcing large arenas and stadiums can reopen Feb. 23 with testing and other COVID-related requirements. News 4's John Chandler reports.

Back in Brooklyn, the experience inside at the game will be wildly different than going to see a game in the past. All concession stands will be closed, with all food and drinks being brought to fans in specialized seating.

"Some of our seating areas we built into mini suites," said Abbamondi. "In the seating bowl, there are some bar stools and a couch and plexiglass walls on either side to create a little bubble."

Going to any game won't be cheap: The bare minimum costs to attend Nets game for now will be $200, just for the costs of the tests. And that's completely separate from the cost of the ticket.

"Fans are craving to come back and watch live sports, and we have to reinvent the arena experience to adapt for the pandemic, and that's what we are trying to do," Abbamondi said.

Tickets will be offered to season ticket holders first, with lots of interest already brewing. The game against the Kings — a matchup between two fairly middling teams, with little star power on the other side — is nearly sold out.

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