Skip to main content

Some fans are applauding the proof of vaccination for sporting events. Others ask for refunds

By August 31, 2021December 4th, 2021Sports events

A team official even said the rule will increase attendance by reassuring fans that they can safely gather, shout and sing.

90 minutes south of Oregon State’s Reser Stadium in Corvallis, the same policy gets a very different answer. A new college rule requiring vaccination or a negative test to attend home football games, which begin on September 11, has so far prompted requests for reimbursement or future credit for around 250 football season tickets.

As for those who are happy with the additional measures, “I haven’t heard from anyone from that point of view,” OSU Vice President and Sporting Director Scott Barnes said.

Covid-19 testing requirements for sporting events are expanding nationwide to include proof of vaccination, as the highly contagious Delta variant is filling intensive care beds even in states like Oregon, which have largely avoided the worst infection rates earlier in the pandemic.

The small but growing list of teams requiring a vaccination or negative test include the NBA Toronto Raptors and Portland Trail Blazers, the NFL Las Vegas Raiders and New Orleans Saints, and the LSU, Boston College, the ‘Oregon and Oregon State in college football. Some teams act on their own, while others follow the changing rules of parent company or public health officials as infections increase.

Last Friday, the US Open of Tennis announced that it would require proof of at least one dose of a Covid-19 vaccine for entry to the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in Queens, NY. Play in the main draw of the tournament started on Monday.

“I think that’s where it’s going to go,” said Mike Golub, president of Portland Timbers and Thorns affairs, which announced its vax / test policy in mid-August. “We thought it was the right thing to do.”

As new policies emerge, reactions to them often follow regional politics, with Democrats expressing greater confidence in Covid-19 vaccines than Republicans. In the three counties that encompass Democrat-controlled Portland, between 66% and 74% of the population is fully vaccinated, well above the national rate of 53%.

“We are closely monitoring the number of our tickets that are sold in the secondary market,” Golub said of the Timbers and Thorns. “And we are carefully monitoring tickets that are not exchanged, that is, tickets that are not used.”

Both figures, he said, are “significantly higher” than they were before the pandemic. With Covid-19’s stricter entry rules, Golub said with “great confidence” that match attendance will increase.

The total of 14,299 in Thorns’ game against NJ / NY Gotham FC last Wednesday, when the policy took effect, was down about 2,000 from a home game earlier in August. A spokesperson for the team attributed the drop to the match being on a Wednesday and said the vaccine requirement was “widely adopted by our fans.”

The state of Oregon and Oregon are respectively 90 minutes and two hours south of Portland in adjacent counties. School athletic departments, which draw fans to the city as well as rural counties with full immunization rates below 50%, have seen mixed reactions to their recently announced terms.

Oregon’s pre-season ranked No.11 football season kicks off Saturday against Fresno State in Eugene, the first time in 22 months that Autzen Stadium has welcomed post-season Ducks football fans. of last year, shortened by the pandemic and without fans.

Late last week, former Oregon student Stephanie Penrod said she was told the athletics department would not issue any refunds and was waiting to receive a response on her request. to postpone its subscriptions to next year.

A spokesperson for the Oregon track team said fan feedback on the vaccination policy was very positive and officials were discussing with affected customers their options, including credits and refunds. .

“One of the main reasons I’m upset is that I feel like they’re targeting unvaccinated people, that we might as well wear a scarlet letter,” said Penrod, a mother of three from. 43 years old who lives in Portland. She said she felt the Covid-19 vaccines had not been proven to work without long-term studies.

Requiring everyone to test negative rather than vaccination would be fairer, she said, but added that it is difficult to get regular test results on short notice.

“Most of the seats are reserved,” she said.

In the state of Oregon, football season tickets lost so far due to fan objections to the new restrictions represent less than 2% of the 13,900 total, said Barnes, the athletic director.

“The things that are not known, obviously, are: has this announcement somehow slowed down new season ticket purchases?” Said Barnes. “What will happen to the single game – we are also counting on the single game buyers. That impact? Remains to be determined.

Across the country last spring, a handful of teams reserved a few sections for vaccinated fans, starting with the NBA’s Miami Heat. The New York Knicks later said they would require fans to be vaccinated to attend the second round of the playoffs, then lost in the first round. The Knicks have not announced a policy for this season, which begins in October.

The teams making the rules strongly urge fans to arrive early and have their documents ready: usually a vaccination card, a negative test result within 48-72 hours of the event’s start time, or a photo of one or the other. The policies generally apply to persons 12 years of age and over.

Rules in the sport come as more and more large companies require employees to be vaccinated and the world’s largest concert organizer, Live Nation Entertainment Inc., will demand proof of vaccination or a negative Covid-19 test to enter all its sites and festivals from in October.

Susie and Charlie Dugal, who have held a New Orleans Saints membership for 23 years, said the August 23 crowd for Jacksonville at the Caesars Superdome was smaller than usual for a pre-season game. Match officials, enforcing a new city rule, asked fans to show a negative test or proof of at least one shot from Covid-19, which fans could get outside the stadium.

The Dugals are both vaccinated and were happy to be back at the stadium that day. The two had Covid-19 a year ago, with Susie having spent two months in the hospital. Following this infection, she uses a small tank of oxygen that Charlie usually carries.

“I just have to stay close to him,” she said.

To subscribe to Mint newsletters

* Enter a valid email address

* Thank you for subscribing to our newsletter.

Never miss a story! Stay connected and informed with Mint. Download our app now !!