Madison Square Garden may be opening for live audiences sooner than one might think, according to President Andy Lustgarten. Their first in-person event will take place on February 23, 2021 for the Knicks game.
Governor Andrew Cuomo announced that arenas could open up to 10 percent capacity on February 10, 2021 using a testing- based program. People who provide a negative PCR test within 72 hours of the live event in question would be able to attend live entertainment like musical events according to the testing- based program.
At Madison Square Garden 10 percent capacity is about 2,000 people. Which means at the upcoming Knicks game against the Golden State Warriors 2,000 people can be cheering from the crowd. Although 2,000 isn’t that many, Madison Square Garden hopes that they “are on a path to continue to increase capacity,” according to Lustgarten. They hope that in time attendance will be able to increase beyond 10 percent before the basketball and hockey seasons end.
“This was earlier than we had expected,” Lustgarten told analysts on a Friday at the New York Post. And because of the fact reopening to live audiences was unexpected there are some things that are still up in the air. Like the fact there will be limited types of food for sale, but it’s unclear what types of food will be available in the upcoming events. Madison Square Garden says details will be coming soon on what options will be available.
This MSG reopening is coming just in the knick of time for the arena with its second fiscal quarter, ending in December of 2020, was down $23.1 million which is 94.1 percent from the previous year’s $394.1 million according to Billboard. The live entertainment industry has been harder than most industries by the COVID-19 pandemic. The fact that live shows are slowly but surely coming back is the light at the end of the tunnel the industry has been searching for.
For more information on Madison Square Garden visit their website.