Fan attendance at Saturday’s K-State football game was well below the 25% limit, but an athletics officials said they really didn’t have any issues with people following the new rules related to the coronavirus.
“We probably scanned about 8,000 people actually in the stands,” said Casey Scott, executive associate athletics director for internal operations and event management. “We were well below our 25% threshold in the stands. A lot of our fans have opted out, but they’re looking forward to it next year.”
Bill Snyder Family Stadium has a capacity of 52,000, so 8,000 is about 15%. The number of tickets sold for the game was 11,041, which is 22%.
He said many people decided to stay home partly because of the threat of the virus, and partly because of the rules this season, which require masks and prohibit tailgating.
“With the combination, people have made decisions on their own whether they should or shouldn’t attend,” he said. “Those things combined.”
While some people raised concerns about crowding in the student section during the game, Scott said he thought it probably looked worse than it was.
He said 1,400 students were scanned into the game, and they were spaced among 6,000 available student seats. Officials allowed students to sit (or stand, as they typically do) in every third row. The empty rows were roped off with purple flags, which may have made that section appear a bit fuller than it was.
“As I looked, they were fairly spaced out according to our distancing plan,” he said.
He added that students had the best mask compliance of any section.
“I’d say it was almost 100%,” he said. “They did a great job.”
One change officials are considering for the next home game is putting the marching band in the north endzone.
“We’re thinking of allowing them to take up the entire north endzone,” Scott said. “That would allow the full band to participate each game.”
At Saturday’s game, only half the band was present so that they could distance within their section. Scott said being able to have the full band in the stadium would add to the atmosphere at Bill Snyder Family Stadium.
The band wasn’t able to march on Saturday, per Big 12 rules. Bands aren’t permitted on the field. The stadium showed a 1997 marching band performance on the big screen during halftime instead.
Saturday also was the first time the stadium allowed beer sales in the general admission parts of the stadium. Scott also said he didn’t yet have sales numbers on that, but he thinks it went well.
He said it was the first time in his 19 years that K-State didn’t have an alcohol ejection at the game. Normally those come from tailgating, he said.