INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. — The Big Ten Conference announced Thursday it will allow a limited number of fans to attend the 2021 Big Ten Men’s and Women’s Basketball Tournaments in Indianapolis.
The men’s tournament will be held from March 10-14 at Lucas Oil Stadium.
Big Ten officials said the decision to allow a limited capacity of 8,000 attendees was made after being approved by the Marion County Health Department.
The reason the number for fans at Lucas Oil Stadium is capped at 8,000 is because the Big Ten Men’s Basketball Tournament will only use one court, which will not utilize the full venue.
The 2021 Big Ten Women’s Basketball Tournament will be played March 9-13 at Bankers Life Fieldhouse. 2,500 attendees will be allowed to attend after also being approved by the Marion County Health Department.
The decision to allow fans was made jointly by the Big Ten Conference Directors of Athletics and the Council of President and Chancellors in consultation with the conference office.
Dr. Virginia Caine, Director of the Marion County Health Department said Thursday allowing fans to attend events at the capacities announced was easy.
“We work very closely with the Indiana Sports Corp and we’ve worked with the Marion County Convention Center,” said Caine, “So we’ve been having programs all along with our professional organizations like the Colts.”
Caine said at Colts games, where up to 12,500 fans were allowed at one point this past season, there were no transmissions or major outbreaks related to the events.
“We’ve had a number of basketball tournaments come into our city,” said Caine.
“You don’t want your economy to die, businesses to die. People need jobs in order to put food and utilities on the table, but we balanced that with the science to say, ‘this is safe right now,'” she said.
The Pacers organization has also reported success at recent home games, where fans were also allowed.
“We’ve had a tremendous amount of success getting people in safely and providing a safe and as healthy environment as possible,” said Danny Lopez, Vice President of External Affairs and Communications for Pacers Sports and Entertainment.
Lopez said the protocols in place have been taken seriously by fans, which has allowed the venue to set an example for others.
“Our approach has been crawl, walk, run and that’s the approach we’ve taken so far,” he said.
Tickets for each tournament will go on sale through each Big Ten school’s ticket office. Further information will be distributed by university ticket offices, including a discounted student ticket program. Additional details can be found at http://www.bigten.org/mbbt for the men and here for the women.
Only mobile tickets will be used for both the men’s and women’s tournaments. Gates at Lucas Oil Stadium and Bankers Life Fieldhouse will open one hour prior to each session of the tournament to accommodate early arriving fans.
Fans attending the tournaments are encouraged to become familiar with health and safety procedures at both venues.
At Lucas Oil Stadium, fans can expect several protocols in place, including seats sold in pods of two, four, or six to households and groups traveling together.
Seats that are not being utilized will be clearly marked with zip-ties to discourage fans from moving around to other seats.
Other protocols in place at Lucas Oil Stadium will include food and beverage purchases that are touchless and signs to mark social distancing procedures.
For more details on those health and safety protocols and additional details on ticket sales, please visit http://www.bigten.org.