Will there be fans at MLB games in 2021? Team-by-team attendance rules to start the season

Opening Day will be here soon. How many fans will be in the stands? That’s a complicated question, and we have the answers right here. 

Clubs have been working with their local and state health officials for months now. Some have announced official plans, some haven’t. The Rockies announced official plans, then amended them a couple of weeks later. Don’t be surprised if that happens with other teams, especially those that announced plans midway through February. 

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We’ll keep this page updated through the start of the season, April. 1.  

Arizona Diamondbacks

Opening Day capacity: 25 percent, which is roughly 12,000 fans

Down the road: The club hopes to increase capacity as the season goes along, but no specific plan has been revealed.

Noteworthy: Arizona CEO/president Derrick Hall: “We are getting so close to Opening Day and we really have to plan. We’re also actively looking at moving right now seating and moving some of our season ticket holders around so we do have that spacing. We’re comfortable with our plan right now and let’s look at the second month as we get into May or June. If things are continuing to improve and we don’t see any sort of outbreak anywhere else, that should help.”

Atlanta Braves

Opening Day capacity: The Braves expect to have fans to start the season, but have yet to announce any details. 

Down the road: See above. 

Noteworthy: Here’s what CEO Derek Schiller told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution earlier this month: “We think we’ve got the chance to do this safely and do it right, and we’ll welcome fans come Opening Day. I think some social-distance measures are going to continue to be important, at least to begin with, more than likely. What those are exactly and what the percentage of capacity would be exactly are things that we’re working on right now.”

Baltimore Orioles

Opening Day capacity: TBD

Down the road: TBD

Noteworthy: Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan announced that outdoor venues (like Camden Yards) can operate at 50 percent capacity, but the Orioles have yet to make an official announcement. 

Boston Red Sox

Opening Day capacity: 12 percent, which is roughly 4,500 fans

Down the road: The club hopes to increase capacity as the season goes along, but no specific plan has been revealed.

Noteworthy: Fenway Park is expected to continue to be used as a mass vaccination site even after the regular season starts. 

Chicago Cubs

Opening Day capacity: 20 percent, which is exactly 8,274 fans

Down the road: The club hopes to increase capacity as the season goes along, but no specific plan has been revealed.

Noteworthy: This …

Chicago White Sox

Opening Day capacity: 20 percent, which is exactly 8,122 fans

Down the road: The club hopes to increase capacity as the season goes along, but no specific plan has been revealed.

Noteworthy: The Cubs and White Sox jointly pitched a 30 percent capacity, but only 20 percent was approved. 

Cincinnati Reds

Opening Day capacity: 30 percent, which is roughly 13,000 fans

Down the road: The club hopes to increase capacity as the season goes along, but no specific plan has been revealed.

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Noteworthy: Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine: “We have to caution, though: We caution that the variant is out there in Ohio. And our best medical information is that (the variant) could become dominant by the latter part of March. We don’t really know what’s going to happen after that.”

Cleveland Indians

Opening Day capacity: 30 percent, which is roughly 10,500 fans

Down the road: The club hopes to increase capacity as the season goes along, but no specific plan has been revealed.

Noteworthy: Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine: “We have to caution, though: We caution that the variant is out there in Ohio. And our best medical information is that (the variant) could become dominant by the latter part of March. We don’t really know what’s going to happen after that.”

Colorado Rockies

Opening Day capacity: 42.6 percent, which is exactly 21,363 fans

Down the road: The club hopes to increase capacity as the season goes along, but no specific plan has been revealed.

Noteworthy: This is a bump up from the initial announcement, which was 25 percent capacity (roughly 12,500 fans).

Detroit Tigers

Opening Day capacity: 1,000 fans, which is roughly 3 percent capacity

Down the road: The club hopes to increase capacity as the season goes along, but no specific plan has been revealed.

Noteworthy: Owner Christopher Illitch, as reported by the Detroit Free Press: ”At the same time, we’ve heard from government officials what their key interests are in terms of keeping people safe, which is exactly where they should be focused and making sure that we’re developing protocols, processes and confidence so they can, hopefully, allow more and more fans to attend games at Comerica Park as the season goes on.

“If the trends continue along the positive lines that we’ve seen around COVID, not only in Michigan and Detroit but throughout the country, I’m hopeful (fans) will continue (to increase).

Houston Astros

Opening Day capacity: Nothing official yet; team has said “limited” capacity to start the year. The Houston Chronicle reported the number as “about 25 percent,” which would be around 11,000 fans.

Down the road: The plan reportedly is to increase capacity in phases.

Noteworthy: It’s possible the Astros could react to the Rangers’ plan to operate at full capacity for the exhibition games and Opening Day. Stay tuned. 

Kansas City Royals

Opening Day capacity: 30 percent, which is roughly 10,000 fans

Down the road: The club hopes to increase capacity as the season goes along, but no specific plan has been revealed.

Noteworthy: An ownership group led by John Sherman purchased the Royals late in 2019, and Opening Day will be the first time fans will be at Kauffman Stadium since that transaction was finalized. 

Los Angeles Angels

Opening Day capacity: 20 percent capacity, which is roughly 9,000 fans

Down the road: As Orange County drops down “tiers” — based on cases and positivity rates per 100,000 people — capacity could rise to 33 percent (orange), then 67 percent (yellow). 

Noteworthy: Same as the other California teams: Orange County is currently in the purple tier, which would allow for fewer than 100 fans in the ballpark, but is expected to drop to the red tier by Opening Day, and that would allow for the 20 percent. 

Los Angeles Dodgers

Opening Day capacity: 20 percent, which is roughly 11,000 fans

Down the road: As Los Angeles County drops down “tiers” — based on cases and positivity rates per 100,000 people — capacity could rise to 33 percent (orange), then 67 percent (yellow).

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Noteworthy: Same as with the other California teams; Los Angeles County is currently in the purple tier, which would allow for fewer than 100 fans in the ballpark. It’s expected the county will move to the red tier for Opening Day, but there’s less certainty that’ll happen than in the counties where the Angels, Giants, A’s and Padres play.

Miami Marlins

Opening Day capacity: 25 percent, which is roughly 9,300 fans

Down the road: The club hopes to increase capacity as the season goes along, but no specific plan has been revealed.

Noteworthy: The Marlins were one of the first teams to announce plans, back in mid-February. 

Milwaukee Brewers

Opening Day capacity: 25 percent, which is between 11,000 and 12,000 fans

Down the road: The club hopes to increase capacity as the season progresses, keeping an “open dialogue” with local health officials. 

Noteworthy: From the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinal: “The Brewers announced Thursday morning they had reached agreement with the City of Milwaukee Health Department to begin the season at 25% capacity. They had requested 35% capacity in a 500-page health and safety report submitted to health officials last month.”

Minnesota Twins

Opening Day capacity: TBD

Down the road: TBD

Noteworthy: The Twins submitted a proposal for roughly 10,000 fans (25 percent capacity), but nothing has been finalized yet. 

New York Mets

Opening Day capacity: 10 percent, which is roughly 4,500 fans

Down the road: The club hopes to increase capacity as the season goes along, but no specific plan has been revealed.

Noteworthy: These plans were announced in early February. Will there be an update? For now, according to state guidelines, all staff and spectators must have a negative COVID test within 72 hours of attending a game. 

New York Yankees

Opening Day capacity: 10 percent, which is roughly 5,500 fans

Down the road: The club hopes to increase capacity as the season goes along, but no specific plan has been revealed.

Noteworthy: These plans were announced in early February. Will there be an update? For now, according to state guidelines, all staff and spectators must have a negative COVID test within 72 hours of attending a game. 

Oakland Athletics

Opening Day capacity: 20 percent, which is roughly 12,600 fans

Down the road: As Alameda County drops down “tiers” — based on cases and positivity rates per 100,000 people — capacity could rise to 33 percent (orange), then 67 percent (yellow).

Noteworthy: Same as the other California teams; Alameda County is currently in the purple tier, which would allow for fewer than 100 fans in the ballpark, but is expected to drop to the red tier by Opening Day, and that would allow for the 20 percent.

Philadelphia Phillies

Opening Day capacity: 20 percent, which is roughly 8,800 fans

Down the road: The “soft opening” 20 percent rule is in effect through the club’s home series with the Brewers on May 6. Capacity could increase after that. 

Noteworthy: The club isn’t selling tickets to games after May 6 until early April, when it hopes to know more about potential increases in capacity. 

Pittsburgh Pirates

Opening Day capacity: 20 percent, which could be north of 7,000 fans (see below)

Down the road: The club hopes to increase capacity as the season goes along, but no specific plan has been revealed.

Noteworthy: From the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review: “The number of fans allowed, however, is yet to be determined. That total (20 percent capacity) includes everyone inside the ballpark, and the Pirates are working under health and safety protocols to decide the number of fans permitted.”

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San Diego Padres

Opening Day capacity: 20 percent, which is roughly 8,500 fans

Down the road: As San Diego County drops down “tiers” — based on cases and positivity rates per 100,000 people — capacity could rise to 33 percent (orange), then 67 percent (yellow).

Noteworthy: Same as the other California teams; San Diego County is currently in the purple tier, which would allow for fewer than 100 fans in the ballpark, but is expected to drop to the red tier by Opening Day, and that would allow for the 20 percent.

San Francisco Giants

Opening Day capacity: 20 percent, which is roughly 8,200 fans

Down the road: As Alameda County drops down “tiers” — based on cases and positivity rates per 100,000 people — capacity could rise to 33 percent (orange), then 67 percent (yellow).

Noteworthy: Same as the other California teams; Alameda County is currently in the purple tier, which would allow for fewer than 100 fans in the ballpark, but is expected to drop to the red tier by Opening Day, and that would allow for the 20 percent.

Seattle Mariners

Opening Day capacity: TBD

Down the road: TBD

Noteworthy: The club is hopeful fans will be allowed, but is still working with King County officials on the details, the Seattle Times reported on March 10. 

St. Louis Cardinals

Opening Day capacity: 32 percent, which is roughly 15,000 fans

Down the road: The club hopes to increase capacity as the season goes along, but no specific plan has been revealed. 

Noteworthy: In their news release, the Cardinals announced that they would “upgrade Busch Stadium’s HVAC systems by replacing filters in the ballpark to MERV 13 to ensure cleaner air in any enclosed spaces.”

Tampa Bay Rays

Opening Day capacity: 17 percent, which is roughly 7,000 plans

Down the road: The club hopes to increase capacity as the season goes along, but no specific plan has been revealed.

Noteworthy: The Rays are offering “season memberships” instead of traditional plans, which is an interesting twist. 

Texas Rangers

Opening Day capacity: 100 percent, which is 40,518 fans

Down the road: After full capacity on Opening Day (and two exhibitions), the club is scaling back capacity, designating several sections to socially-distanced seating. 

Noteworthy: There’s a mask mandate, though the club said it’s a “voluntary compliance” situation, with a “three strike” policy before any action is taken. 

Toronto Blue Jays

Opening Day capacity: With Canada’s tight restrictions on travelers entering the country, the Blue Jays are starting their season at their spring training site, TD Ballpark in Dunedin, Fla. They’ve been allowing 15 percent capacity for spring games 

Down the road: Eventually, a return to Toronto, though a stop in Buffalo for a time is possible, too. 

Noteworthy: Everything is fluid. The Jays made the decision to start in Florida in mid-February. “We made the proactive decision to ensure that public health, particularly at the federal level, could maintain focus on the most important priorities, and that circumstances and situation had not changed enough to warrant us making a formal ask for the Blue Jays to begin their season in Toronto,” club president and CEO Mark Shapiro said at the time

Washington Nationals

Opening Day capacity: Zero, for now

Down the road: TBD

Noteworthy: The District of Columbia denied the club’s request for limited fan attendance on March 2, but promised to revisit the issue two weeks later.